April 19, 2024
Court papers filed by the defense revealed that when Edward Twine was shot in the teeth by his victim's brother, it was the second time in his young life that he survived being shot in the head.

OAKLAND — A local resident has been sentenced to 35 years to life for murdering the owner of a cannabis cultivation warehouse during an attempted jewelry robbery in Oakland, court records show.

Edward Twine, 27, was sentenced on Jan. 24 by Alameda County Judge Rhonda Burgess. He will remain at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin until after a victim restitution hearing in mid-March, at which point he’ll be bussed to state prison, court records show.

Last July, Twine was convicted of murdering 35-year-old Halia Gebrezghi while Twine and another man attempted to steal expensive jewelry from him. After Gebrezghi was shot, his brother ran up, grabbed Gebrezghi’s pistol from the ground and fired at the robbers as they fled.

Halia Gebrezghi’s wife, Liz Gebrezghi, wrote a victim impact letter saying her life hasn’t been the same since she got a text message informing her of her husband’s death. The two have known each other since middle school, and she described him as a man who “enjoyed making people laugh and always had a positive attitude, the reason he won the hearts of many people.”

“To this day my son calls and sends text messages to his father’s phone, to wish him a Happy Birthday or to say Happy Father’s Day,” Liz Gebrezghi wrote. “Every time I look in my son’s eyes I can see and feel his pain and there is nothing I can do to make it better and that is killing me.”

Halia Gebrezghi was shot and killed July 10, 2021 as he returned to his vehicle that was parked on the 1200 block of 52nd Avenue in East Oakland. Witnesses testified that Twine and a second gunman — who remains unidentified — ran up to rob Gebrezghi of expensive jewelry.

But Gebrezghi grabbed his own firearm and attempted to fend the robbers off. He shot Twine in the jaw before being fatally shot in the heart. As the robber’s ran off, Gebrezghi’s brother ran up, grabbed Gebrezghi’s gun and fired at the robbers, but missed.

As Twine ran away, bleeding from a gunshot wound, his teeth fell onto the pavement. They were later processed into evidence and used to convict him. Twine was identified as a suspect after he showed up to a Bay Area hospital with a gunshot wound.

But Twine’s defense attorney revealed in court papers that when Twine was shot during this incident, it was actually the second time in his young life that he survived a headshot. In 2015, when Twine was 18, he was riding in a car in San Francisco when he was struck by a bullet in the back of the head.

At the time, Twine was an intern with San Francisco’s Parks and Recreation Department and his life was looking up, his lawyer wrote. He was diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder due to the injury, lost his job and “began to associate more closely with a group of peers that proved to be a negative influence” that led him to two prior felony convictions, Deputy Public Defender Sydney Levin wrote in court filings.

Prosecutors said in court papers that Twine was a suspect in other felonies from years past, including in 2017 when he and three others allegedly committed three robberies in one day. That year, he received 15 days in county jail for possessing stolen property, then was later sentenced to 150 days in connection with auto burglaries in the South San Francisco area.