Witness testimony is underway in the trail of a Berkeley man accused of killing a 17-year-old Danville resident. Walter Bell, 22, is charged in the murder of Rylan Fuchs, a San Ramon Valley High senior who was shot outside his his parents' Danville home Jan. 20, 2009.
In their opening remarks, the prosecution put Bell at the scene and implicated him in Fuchs' murder. Bell's Deputy Public Defender Kirk Anthanasiou said his client had nothing to do with the robbery leading up to the murder as well at the killing itself.
According to prosecutor Harold Jewett, Fuchs had agreed to meet Bell the night of the shooting to sell him a "fairly sizable amount of marijuana." But when Bell approached Fuchs, Jewett said, he was allegedly holding a gun and attempted to scare Fuchs into giving up the marijuana without payment.
A neighbor drove by minutes before the shooting and saw Fuchs in his driveway with another boy, believed to be classmate Aaron Marks, and saw several other young men crouched in bushes across the street. According to reports, Fuchs' mother was washing dishes when she heard a shot, then rushed outside to find her son.
After being rushed to the hospital, Fuchs died in the early morning hours the next day; Bell arrived at his girlfriend's home in Richmond around the the same time. Two days later, Danville Police arrived at the Richmond house and Bell told officers "a few inconsistent stories about his whereabouts the night Fuchs was killed and then took off running." Danville Police chased Bell but did not catch him,
In her opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Jill Henderson said Bell confessed to at least two people -- his girlfriend and another friend -- that he shot Fuchs outside his home on El Capitan Drive. Henderson said Bell allegedly told his friend that he meant to shoot the gun to scare Fuchs, not to kill him. Anthanasiou said neither source is credible.
Bell is the only person being prosecuted in connection with this case; Marks was fatally shot in Oakland in November 2012. If convicted, Bell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.