UPDATE: Prosecutors declined to charge Jovante Deshawn Williams and Angel Darling Butler within the 48 hours required by law. According to Dublin Police Department Capt. Nate Schmidt, prosecutors requested more investigation to develop more evidence. Williams and Butler remain the only suspects in the crime.
DUBLIN — Two suspects have been tied through their 2-year-old child’s DNA to the November killing of a promising Bay Area rapper near the East Dublin BART station, police said Wednesday.
Jovante Deshaun Williams and Angel Darling Butler, who were arrested Tuesday, were linked to the killing of Alexander Mark Antonyyo Jr. (“Lil Yase”) after tests of each of their DNAs matched genetic material found on a shell casing at the crime scene, Dublin Police Department (DPD) Capt. Nate Schmidt said.
The genetic material on the shell casing belonged to their daughter, whose DNA carried scientific evidence from both suspects.
That evidence, Schmidt said, “pushed us over the finish line in order to get (arrest) warrants.”
How the child’s DNA got onto the shell casing is anyone’s guess. The toddler possibly could have put it in her mouth or touched it before it was put in the gun, police said. The daughter, who was not believed to be at the crime scene, was placed with a relative.
Williams and Butler, both 28, are suspected of killing 26-year-old Antonyyo, who died Nov. 28 at Eden Memorial Center in Castro Valley. Known as Lil Yase, the rapper’s life ended as his fame and body of work were growing. He had planned to move to Los Angeles to expand his career.
Before he died in a hospital following the shooting, Antonyyo made a “dying declaration,” where he provided police with information to lead them to suspects.
“He did not give us these names, but he pointed us in the right direction,” Schmidt said.
Social-media posts and cell phone records also led to Williams and Butler, who live in an apartment complex near where the shooting occurred in the 5100 block of Iron Horse Parkway.
“Our two suspects have a child in common, and they live together,” Schmidt said. “We also know that Angel Butler knew the victim and was in some type of relationship with him either in the present or past. That’s all we know. The victim came out to see Angel Butler on that night, and that's when the crime went down.”
[Text Wrapping Break]What transpired to lead to the shooting was unknown, including whether Antonyyo was lured to the scene. The motive is not known, Schmidt said.
“Everything we've found is he was going to meet Angel, unsuspecting that anything was going to go down,” he said.
Prosecutors are expected to file charges Thursday before Butler and Williams are scheduled to appear for arraignment at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin. Each was held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. Butler also was held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.
Alameda County Superior Court records show Williams was sentenced to six years in prison in 2014 following a residential burglary conviction.
Antonyyo’s business partner, Justin Miranda, said Wednesday he was happy to hear news of the arrests on the radio while on his way to visit Antonyyo’s mother. He further stated that he’d never seen Butler nor Williams in his life.
A resident of the Sunnydale Projects in San Francisco, where he lived with his mother, Antonyyo began writing lyrics and rapping when he was 14. Known for his fresh delivery and a cadence fans had not heard before, Lil Yase rapped about inequality in the Bay Area, making videos that received millions of views on YouTube and the internet. He performed in the Bay Area, Seattle, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The night he died, Antonyyo texted Miranda that he would be in the studio but instead drove to Dublin, where his car was found.
Schmidt said Antonyyo’s family was notified of the arrests and “expressed their extreme gratitude to the Dublin Police for their unwavering commitment in identifying and holding those responsible for the death of their loved one.”