Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2016
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Hearst Communications Inc.


Tikisha Upshaw was charged in a murder-for-hire plot that targeted an
Antioch father killed in July.

Wessley Brown was charged in a murder-for-hire plot that targeted an
Antioch father who was gunned down in July.

A 38-year-old father, who was gunned down in Hayward last July, was
targeted in a murder-for-hire plot by the operator of a "sophisticated"
illegal marijuana grow operation, officials said Wednesday.

Antioch resident Adan Katani - who was on the way to pick up his
4-year-old daughter from daycare on July 13 - was shot to death as he sat
in his truck in a broad-daylight ambush.

But while deputies arrested the gunman and his suspected getaway driver
shortly after the killing, detectives soon began to unravel a more
elaborate plot involving a soured relationship between business partners
in a shady weed enterprise and hired killers from across the country.

Authorities said 37-year-old San Leandro resident Tikisha Upshaw, who also
goes by the name Tikisha Ong, had hired the killers to knock off Katani -
her former associate.

Upshaw allegedly orchestrated the hit with 38-year-old Berkeley resident
Wessley Brown, who hired 46-year-old Johnny Wright Jr. and 25-year-old
Chariot Burks, both of Memphis, to carry out the deed, said Sgt. Ray
Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Around 1 p.m. on July 13, Wright hopped out of a Jeep Wrangler driven by
Burks and opened fire on Katani inside his red Dodge pickup truck at
Meekland Avenue and West Blossom Way, officials said.

Deputies found Katani slumped in the driver's seat, while a child's car
seat sat empty in the back.

Wright had fled on foot, but he and Burks were separately arrested later
that day. Investigators learned the couple was from Tennessee, but were
perplexed about a motive because they seemingly had no connection to the

Detectives later discovered that Katani and Upshaw had been business
associates in the illegal pot trade, and had some sort of falling out,
Kelly said.

"Based on what we learned, she hired this duo to kill Katani," Kelly said.

Investigators raided Upshaw's home on Dec. 22 where they discovered "a
sophisticated and illegal marijuana grow," Kelly said.

Upshaw was charged Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court with a special
circumstance murder along with other drug charges. Brown, Wright, and
Burks have all been charged with murder in the slaying.
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