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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Police raid home in murder of '07

On Saturday, Berkeley, Calif. police searched a home in nearby Vallejo, while looking for Christopher Hollis, the man whom police suspect shot and killed Meleia Willis-Starbuck '07 in July.

Meanwhile, the suspected getaway driver, Christopher Wilson, posted bail after close acquaintances offered to mortgage their house in order to raise the necessary sum. Both suspects were reportedly friends of Willis-Starbuck from when all three attended Berkeley High School.

Vallejo police aided the Berkeley officers in the search for Hollis when a car linked to the suspect turned up in that city. Vallejo and Berkeley forces worked together for the raid, in which authorities discovered what they believed to be four friends of Hollis in the house. No arrests were made, however.

Wilson, also charged with murder as the suspect who drove Hollis to the crime scene, was released on a $326,000 bail after a couple from Berkeley who are good friends of the Wilson family offered their home's $650,000 in equity as collateral.

Judge Winifred Smith granted the bail on the basis of the argument provided by Wilson's attorney, Elizabeth Grossman, that Wilson lacks a police record and has "substantial ties to the community," which would prevent him from vacating Berkeley.

The Deputy District Attorney, Carrie Panetta, had originally requested bail be set at $500,000, but did not argue with the judge's decision.

Wilson is now in the custody of Robin Baker and Ralph Silber, friends of Wilson's who live near the Berkeley campus. Court-ordered restrictions on Wilson include a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and his being barred from the use of a cellphone or pager.

"We consider him family," Baker told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He has no knowing part in this tragedy."

Willis-Starbuck was shot on Sunday, July 17 at 1:45 a.m. and died shortly afterwards. The homicide took place a few blocks south of the University of California at Berkeley main campus. Hollis still remains at large.