Eighteen months after toddler Jasper Wu was killed on an Oakland freeway, the criminal case against the alleged perpetrators began in Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Wu, a 23-month-old boy, was shot in broad daylight in November 2021, allegedly amid rival gang activities. The high-profile incident sent shock waves throughout the Bay Area—particularly in the region’s Chinese American community.
Three suspects, Johnny Jackson, Trevor Green and Ivory Bivins, were arrested in connection with the crime in December 2022.
At the initial hearing Wednesday, Jackson, Green and Bivins appeared in court with their defense attorneys as well as the prosecutor from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. However, Judge Scott Patton decided to postpone the preliminary examination till next Monday.
According to court documents, on Nov. 6, 2021, at about 2 p.m., members of two rival gangs opened fire on Interstate 880. A bullet fired from Green and Bivins' vehicle missed the intended target, Keison Lee and Jackson’s vehicle, and hit the vehicle in which Jasper Wu was traveling, striking him in the head. Both suspects’ vehicles fled from the scene, and Keison Lee died in a separate shooting last year.
Norbert Chu, the attorney representing the Wu family and a retired Alameda County prosecutor, attended the hearing. He said he will closely watch the case as it's now in the first phase of formal prosecution.
“I will keep the family updated with the latest court proceedings,” Chu said.
The Wu family has since relocated to Oregon, according to Chinese-language media.
The case has sparked continuous controversies as family members and the wider community have voiced concerns about newly elected Alameda County DA Pamela Price and her willingness to seek the maximum sentence. Price’s predecessor, Nancy O’Malley, originally charged them with murder and other gang-related enhancements—but Price, a progressive who won in the election in 2022, has vowed to reform the criminal justice system, emphasizing non-carceral forms of punishment.
The DA’s Office told The Standard on Wednesday that it hasn’t made any official decisions yet about changing the charges or the gang enhancements. It also revealed in court that it has arranged witnesses to testify, including one from out of state.
Chu expects that the hearing next week will last about four days, as prosecutors present their evidence. The DA’s Office is expected to make a final decision on the charges after that.
Han Li can be reached at [email protected]