Northern California deputy charged with murder in killings of couple


A Northern California sheriff’s deputy was charged Friday in the killings of a husband and wife who were shot inside their home, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged Devin Williams Jr., a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, with two counts of murder and with the special circumstance of avoiding lawful arrest after he fled the Dublin home of Benison and Maria Tran, Alameda County Dist. Atty. Nancy O’Malley said in a statement.

Williams, 24, surrendered to law enforcement hours after he was accused of the slayings. Williams appeared in court Friday but didn’t enter a plea. His attorney, Jesse Garcia, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Benison Tran, 57, was a civil engineer. He retired last year after working nearly 29 years for the city of Santa Clara, said Michelle Templeton, a city spokeswoman.

Maria Tran, 42, was a nurse whom Williams met at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro, where she worked.

The couple was fatally shot inside their Dublin home Wednesday. Four other relatives who were in the home, including their child, were unharmed, said Lt. Ray Kelly, a spokesperson with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

A relative of the Trans who saw the slayings called police and identified Williams as the gunman, Kelly said.

Kelly said investigators are still trying to determine the motive.

Williams’ mother, Anitra Williams, told KTVU-TV that her son had been in a romantic relationship with Maria Tran since January and that he believed she was 35 and unmarried.

Anitra Williams said she had warned her son against being with Tran but that her son was “blinded by love.”

“She told him she loved him. They were on a 10-day trip,” Anitra Williams said.

Williams made it 160 miles south to the city of Coalinga, where he called police in Dublin to say he wanted to surrender, Kelly said.

Williams had been with the sheriff’s office since September and was still on probation. He had been assigned to the Oakland courthouse, and there were no concerns about his job performance, Kelly said.



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