A 22-year-old Berkeley man Monday was found guilty of the shooting death of a 17-year-old San Ramon Valley High school senior killed outside his family’s home in 2009 after a marijuana transaction went wrong.
Walter Bell had admitted to smoking marijuana near the El Capitan Drive home of Rylan Fuchs the evening of Jan. 20, 2009 but denied firing the shot that left Rylan Fuchs dead on his doorstep. Investigators said that Fuchs had slipped out of his residence to sell 4 ounces of marijuana to a friend named Aaron Marks when he was confronted by Marks and a group of eight men and juveniles, the group demanding that Fuchs surrender his drugs to them.
During the course of his trial Bell had said that Marks, who was killed in Oakland in 2012, fired the fatal shot, but prosecutors contended that Bell had admitted to going to the Fuchs home and had told acquaintances he was the one who had pulled the trigger. Defense attorneys argued that the statement had been coerced by police.
Photo, right: a memorial sprung up on the front doorstep of the Fuchs home after the murder in January, 2009.
Monday’s jury found Bell guilty of the homicide in under an hour. His sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. on June 21 in Martinez.