May 29, 2022

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2 convicted in Oakland laptop robbery that killed engineer

Two men have been convicted of robbing and killing a San Francisco Bay Area engineer when he tried to retrieve a laptop snatched from him.

An Alameda County jury on Wednesday found Byron Reed, 24, guilty of second-degree murder and Kejuan Wiggins, 20, guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the Dec. 31, 2109, robbery that killed Shuo Zeng, the East Bay Times reported.

The computer research engineer was working on his laptop at a Starbucks coffee shop in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood before going to celebrate his 34th birthday and New Year’s Eve.

Prosecutors said Wiggins came up from behind Zeng and grabbed his laptop. Zeng chased Wiggins, then grabbed onto Reed’s car as it accelerated. He was knocked from the vehicle and then Reed ran him over, killing him.

During trial, a witness for the prosecution testified that Wiggins kicked Zeng off the car. Prosecutors argued that both defendants were guilty of first-degree murder and were both active participants in the robbery. They presented text messages between Reed, Wiggins and Javon Lee — a lookout for the robbery — that showed they were plotting thefts around the Bay Area.

Reed’s attorney countered that his client wasn’t aware that Zeng grasped onto the car.

Lee pleaded no contest to robbery charges before the trial. He faces between two to 10 years in prison. Reed faces 15 years to life on the murder conviction alone, while Wiggins faces up to 12 years for the manslaughter count.

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