By Malaika Fraley | Oakland Tribune
HAYWARD — Two Oakland men were sentenced to 72 years to life in prison Friday for killing an innocent passer-by with a stray bullet while trying to kill each other in a gunbattle at a busy Oakland gas station last year.
Donel Poston, 37, and Joe McNeely, 39, both stood up in court and apologized to the family of Lionel Fluker, a 54-year-old engineer and former Oakland Tribune freelance photographer who suffered a bullet to the brain while driving past the Valero station on MacArthur Boulevard and Seminary Avenue on April 5, 2013.
Fluker was just blocks from home after a night watching TV and doing laundry at a friend’s house. His 21-year-old daughter Dominique Fluker said she collapsed to the ground when she got the phone call at her East Coast college about her father’s death. One year later, the Fluker family is still struggling to cope with the loss.
“I don’t come from a great neighborhood and my dad did a lot of neighborhood advocacy to stop senseless violence like this,” Dominique Fluker said. “How ironic is that?”
McNeely, who also has gone by the name Anthony Lister, and Poston were both felons forbidden from owning firearms when they got into an argument outside the gas station market. Surveillance video showed Poston opening fire on McNeely, wounding him several times over, after McNeely struck him.
Either his gun jammed or he ran out of bullets before McNeely loaded a clip into his own gun and began chasing Poston and returning fire. Fluker was hit by a stray bullet from McNeely’s gun.
Attorneys for each defendant argued a self-defensive claim at the trial where in February jurors convicted them of second-degree murder for killing Fluker and attempted murder for the shots they fired at each other.
Deputy district attorney Stacie Pettigrew said it was surprising that there weren’t more casualties considering how busy the intersection was during the shooting.
“There were hundreds of people that could have been Lionel Fluker that night,” Pettigrew said.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.