A 23-year-old Union City man was convicted of second-degree murder Monday
afternoon in the 2010 slaying of teenager Samuel Nava III, according to the
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Robert David Yim was also found guilty of three counts of attempted murder in the May 3, 2010 case, deputy district attorney Elgin Lowe told Patch.
Yim faces up to 69 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2014.
Nava, a Castro Valley native, was riding in the backseat of a friend’s car when he was fatally shot by Yim, Lowe said.
According to Lowe, Yim was eating at a table with his girlfriend and her 1-year-old daughter at Stonybrook Park in Hayward when he got into a stare-down with Nava and three friends, who were sitting in a car parked in a lot at the park.
Lowe said Yim was "mean mugging" Nava and his friends, so one of Nava's friends, asked Yim, "Is there a problem?"
The friend's question "set Yim off" and Yim said something back to Nava and his friends and retrieved a gun from his girlfriend's car.
Nava and Yim never exchanged words, Lowe said.
Lowe said Nava and his friends then drove off and probably would have gotten away unharmed if the friends had driven Nava straight home, but Nava instructed them to take a circuitous route so that Yim couldn't follow him.
He said Nava and his friends then encountered Yim and his girlfriend at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Industrial Parkway a short time later by "happenstance."
Yim got out of his car and fired four shots, one of which hit Nava in the head and killed him, according to Lowe.
None of the three people with Nava were injured but one of his friends would have been shot in the head if he hadn't ducked because a bullet went through the window next to the right front passenger seat, Lowe said.
Yim's girlfriend, 22-year-old Veronica Rodriguez, also was charged with murder and attempted murder but she was allowed to plead guilty to being an accessory in exchange for agreeing to testify for the prosecution against Yim.
“I’m glad the jury convicted Yim of murder,” Lowe told Patch Monday. “I’m happy for the family. It’s been a long road for them. They can’t get their loved one back, but at least they know the person responsible is going to be punished justly.”
Family members described Nava as a compassionate, charismatic and charming young man with a bright future ahead of him.
“In his 17 years, he lived a fuller life than most adults do in their complete livelihoods,” his mother, Sarita Nava, said in a previous interview. “He touched so many hearts, so many lives in so many ways.”
Sarita Nava and her daughter, Nicolette, spent most of Monday at Samuel's gravesite.
“I don’t think it will ever feel like it’s over … but I think I’m going to wake up in the morning and say: justice has prevailed,” Sarita Nava told Patch. “I think I’ll feel gratified knowing that [Yim] is gone and that he can’t hurt anyone else.”
Yim is also a suspect in the murder of 14-year-old Vernon Eddins, who was gunned down in front of Barnard White Middle School in Union City on Dec. 21, 2007.
Yim and five co-defendants are scheduled to appear in court for preliminary hearings in the Eddins case on Monday, Dec. 9 in Dept. 513 at the Hayward Hall of Justice.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.