Oregon University Graduate Murdered in Emeryville (CA Penal Code §187)

In mid-June, Sacred Heart Prep School and University of Oregon sociology graduate 22-year-old Aya Nakano was on his way home from a friendly game of pick-up basketball when he was involved in a fender bender on Market Street near the corner of Stanford Avenue.  His silver Jeep Cherokee was rear-ended by another silver car, a four-door sedan. The drivers of both vehicles did exactly as they should have, as all good citizens do – they exited their vehicles to speak to one another, ostensibly to exchange insurance information and to discuss the minor accident.  However, an argument of some kind ensued and Nakano was shot to death at point-blank range.  The two men in the silver sedan fled down Market Street and have yet to be brought in for questioning.

Many people in the Bay area are asking the same question that Nakano’s mother has expressed: how are we to understand a society that allows something like this to happen to someone who has so much promise – and was simply trying to do the right thing. But, local law enforcement officials suspect that this case just isn’t that simple.  They are currently investigating whether or not the supposed accident was actually a set up, a plan for the murder of Nakano.  There is video surveillance footage of the incident, but Nakano’s family is offering a $35,000 reward for further information.  If the two assailants are discovered, they will, of course, face murder charges pursuant to CA Penal Code §187 – whether the charges will be first degree murder, second degree murder, capital murder, or first degree felony murder will depend upon the evidence uncovered in this ongoing investigation.