Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Proceeding­s reshuffled for East Bay pair linked to 2018 murder in Vallejo

- By Richard Bammer rbammer@thereporte­r.com Contact reporter Richard Bammer at (707) 4511864.

Two East Bay men will return to Solano County Superior Court in the coming weeks in connection to a February 2018 fatal shooting in Vallejo, and one of them will face sentencing for attempting to kill a witness to the deadly gunfire later that same year.

Costello Blackwell, 45, of Vallejo, convicted earlier this year of attempted murder in a related case, and Daniel Anthony Street, 35, of Hercules, were scheduled to appear Monday for a readiness conference, a trial setting, and a motion to sever in Department 1 in the Justice Center in Fairfield.

But Judge Jeffrey C. Kauffman has ordered the defendants, both in Solano County Jail custody, to return at 10 a.m. May 17 for the same proceeding­s. They are accused of the Feb. 10, 2018, murder of Daryl Huckaby, 47.

Defense attorney Terry Ray represents Street, and David Nelson represents Blackwell. Deputy District Attorney Bill Ainsworth leads the prosecutio­n.

Blackwell was found guilty in March 2020 of an attempted murder related to the Huckaby murder charge and was scheduled to face sentencing Monday for trying to kill Teiquon Cortez, 29 at the time, who witnessed the fatal shooting, on Nov. 5, 2018, also in Vallejo. However, Judge Kauffman reset Blackwell’s sentencing for 10 a.m. April 19.

During the attempted murder trial, Cortez said he witnessed Blackwell, a co-worker at Vallejo moving firm Royal Transport, fire one shot from a handgun, the bullet striking and killing Huckaby, who was in an RV that later crashed on Tuolumne Street.

Months later, on Nov. 1, Blackwell reportedly went to Cortez’s living quarters behind the moving company and shot him twice with a shotgun, wounding him.

During the trial Deputy District Attorney Andrew Wood presented more than a dozen witnesses, including Vallejo police investigat­ors, physicians, cellphone tower experts, and at least one person who aided Cortez after he was shot.

Cortez testified that he walked across the street to a Shell gas station, where, bleeding profusely from the shotgun blasts to his left elbow and back, he received first-aid before Vallejo paramedics and police officers arrived.

During court testimony, an investigat­or for the defense, Eugene Borghello, said Cortez told him during a Solano County Jail interview in January 2019 that Blackwell shot him twice with a shotgun for “threatenin­g Mr. Blackwell’s wife.”

Cortez also told Borghello, of the Special Investigat­ions Group in Fairfield, that he was in a car with Blackwell when the defendant shot Huckaby.

After his attempted murder conviction, Blackwell also faced a court trial — during which the judge, not a jury, makes a final decision based on evidence and attorney arguments — on his alleged prior strikes. That trial was initially set for March 23, 2020, after statewide lockdowns due to the pandemic, but court records do not indicate that trial was ever held or if Kauffman found Blackwell’s prior strikes to be true.

At sentencing for the attempted murder, Blackwell faces a maximum punishment of life in prison, with the possibilit­y of parole, depending on the sentencing decision made by the judge. He likely will face additional time if the prior strikes are found to be true.

It is unclear how Street is connected to Huckaby’s murder.

If convicted at trial for Huckaby’s death, Street and Blackwell face 25 years to life in prison on the charge, and likely more time for prior conviction­s and enhancemen­ts.

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