An Alameda County Superior Court judge convicted a 19-year-old Fremont man with the murder of Osana Futi Thursday afternoon — a day after what would have been the slain Newark Memorial football star’s 19th birthday.
Abraham Hade was found guilty of second-degree murder with a knife in Futi, according to Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe. He faces a mandatory sentence of 16 years to life in prison.
Futi was fatally wounded after a house party on Hyde Park Drive in Fremont. He died several hours later.
He was named the Mission Valley Athletic League's defensive player of the year in 2011 and planned to play football at a community college after his graduation last spring
“We wish we could have Osana with us but we know that we can’t. This guilty verdict is the best we can ask for,” said Stacy Kelly, a close family friend of Futi and president of Newark Memorial's athletics booster club.
“You can’t take somebody’s life and think that it’s okay," Kelly added.
Kelly said that she, her daughter and Futi’s mother cried tears of joy upon hearing the judge’s ruling.
The judge reached the verdict despite defense lawyer Tom Knutsen arguing that Hade had taken the fall for a friend of his who was only 14 at the time. In his closing arguments Monday, Knutsen said the juvenile friend had even told police that he had committed the violent act.
Lowe, however, argued that the teenage boy was trying to take the rap for Hade because he would face a lesser sentence.
According to Lowe, several pieces of evidence linked Hade to the crime.
Hade's blood was found on the knife that was used to kill Futi, Futi’s blood was found on Hade's pants, and footprints matching Hade's size of Air Jordan shoes were found at the scene.
Though Hade's conviction did not include a gang clause, both Knutsen and Lowe agreed that Futi's death stemmed from a feud between Newark Memorial football players and Norteno gang members.
That feud started when Futi's close friend and football teammate, near the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Birch Street in Newark on Dec. 15, 2010.
According to Kelly, Futi was briefly expelled his junior year after saying "you’re gonna get it" to a student that was harassing him following Justice’s murder. The expulsion was overturned and Futi returned to Newark Memorial.
“Osana was far from perfect, but he was an average kid. He did things that all kids do. Yeah, he did stupid stuff, but he did not deserve to be murdered,”
Hade is scheduled to be sentenced May 31 at 10:30 a.m. in Dept. 9 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, according to the district attorney’s office.