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Two ordered to stand trial in Antioch homicide, shooting of pregnant woman

MARTINEZ — A man and a woman were ordered to stand trial in the killing of an Antioch man and shooting of his girlfriend who was seven months pregnant when she and her unborn son survived 10 gunshot wounds.
Felton Clifton Jr., 29, and Kelly Corbitt, 43, face charges of murder and attempted murder in the killing of 32-year-old Alvin “Archie” Crane , and shooting of his pregnant girlfriend. Crane and his girlfriend were parked at an apartment complex on the 900 block of West Third Street in Antioch around 8 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2018 when Clifton allegedly approached the couple and shot them both.
The suspected motive had to do with a burglary that occurred seven months earlier. Prosecutors say Clifton and Corbitt suspected Crane had burglarized their San Pablo home in August 2018, and continued to hold a grudge into 2018.
The prosecution’s case is built on eyewitness identification as Clifton as the shooter, as well as surveillance showing a confrontation between Corbitt, Clifton and Carne’s girlfriend at a Concord convenience store in January.
The defense, meanwhile, argued there were more plausible suspects, including one man who was found with the gun that killed Crane. Corbitt’s attorney called the evidence against his client “pathetically thin.”
During the investigation, Antioch police tapped Corbitt’s cell phone, and also put out a “tickler,” or a ruse designed to get Corbitt talking, one officer testified. That involved created a composite sketch based on Corbitt’s driver’s license photo and showing it to Corbitt, telling her it was a photo of the shooting suspect.
The ruse paid off; prosecutors say Corbitt was recorded on one call telling someone that Clifton committed the killing for her, though she later said that she hadn’t asked him to kill anyone.
Crane’s girlfriend also identified Clifton in court as the shooter, but made earlier statements to police indicating she was uncertain. She explained that on the stand by saying she always knew Clifton was the shooter, but feared retaliation.
The gun used in the shooting was found in another man’s possession. When police tested it, they discovered it matched shell casings found at the scene of a 2015 shooting death in Fairfield.
Crane’s brother testified under subpoena at the preliminary hearing too, but was uncooperative on the stand. At one point, when Judge Rebecca Hardie told him he couldn’t ask questions of the attorneys, he responded, “I can do what I want, I’m a grown (expletive) man.” He denied ever telling police that Clifton had tried to kill Crane months before the homicide, though prosecutors say they have a tape of that statement in evidence.
Clifton’s attorney, Garth McCardle, argued that Crane was a cocaine dealer and therefore, any number of people could have wanted him dead. He said police had ignored more plausible suspects, including the man found with the murder weapon, and that eyewitnesses had described people running from the shooting scene who did not match Clifton’s description.
Corbitt’s attorney, Kellin Cooper, described his client as “a single mom with two kids” who had no motive to kill Crane. He suggested it was absurd Corbitt would still hold a grudge against Crane over the burglary months later. He said Antioch police had excluded evidence from wiretap reports that weakened the case against Corbitt.
Prosecutor Aron DeFerrari, though, pointed to a January incident when Corbitt and Clifton confronted Crane’s girlfriend over the burglary in January 2018, a month before the shooting. He said wiretaps made it clear Corbitt had knowledge of the shooting, and said Crane’s girlfriend’s identification of Clifton proved he was the shooter.
Hardie ordered both defendants to stand trial, while noting the legal standard at a preliminary hearing “is one of the lowest standards in law.” Prosecutors merely need to prove the defendants probably committed the crime, which is far different from the reasonable doubt standard during a jury trial.
A trial date has not yet been set.

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