An ex-con was found guilty Thursday of murdering a former Long Beach City College football player during a robbery outside a fast-food restaurant three years ago.
Jurors deliberated just over two hours before finding Edward Jacobs, 32, guilty of first-degree murder for the early morning shooting of Guy Eugene Alford III, 20, of Hawthorne, on Sept. 26, 2018, in the drive-thru lane of a Jack-in-the-Box near 52nd Street and Atlantic Boulevard in Long Beach.
Jurors found true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery.
Jacobs — whom the prosecution had alleged had prior convictions from 2011 for robbery and 2015 for attempted robbery — was also found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon.
He is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole, with sentencing set Oct. 28.
In her opening statement last week, Deputy District Attorney Karen Brako told the jury that one of the men in Alford’s vehicle heard the masked and hooded assailant say something like “Give me” before a struggle and gunshots ensued as the victim was ordering food in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane.
A reference sample later obtained of Jacobs’ DNA matched the DNA profile found on a watch that was discovered in the drive-thru lane, along with evidence from the interior and exterior of the victim’s car and the victim’s fingernails, the prosecutor told jurors.
Alford died at the scene from a gunshot wound to the neck.
“Based on their investigation, detectives believe Jacobs approached Alford with the intent of committing a robbery, which ultimately resulted in Alford being shot by Jacobs,” Long Beach police said in a statement shortly after Jacobs was arrested in October 2019.
In his opening statement to jurors, defense attorney Samuel H. Leonard countered that “this is a wrong person case.”
Jacobs’ lawyer said DNA testing of the watch showed a DNA mixture from four people — three of whom were never identified.
“There is no reliable evidence … that Mr. Jacobs was involved in these events,” Leonard told jurors.
Alford also played high-school ball at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills.
Shortly after Alford’s death, the Long Beach City College football program mourned the Inglewood native’s death on its Twitter feed in a posting that read: “A very sad day for our Viking family. Senseless violence. `May the choirs of Angels come to greet you Guy!’ Great team player but a better person! StopThisNonSense Prayers go out to his family and friends from his LBCC family.”
The team’s defensive backs coach, Darnell Lacy, wrote on his page, “Tired of the cowards! This dude didn’t deserve this.”
Former LBCC defensive backs coach James Wheeler, who coached Alford for two years, said in a Twitter post: “This was honestly a good, good kid and this one really hurts.”
Alford’s family and friends paid tribute to him in a vigil a day after the shooting.