OAKLAND — In the middle of his murder trial, a Bay Area man agreed to a 15-year prison term and a manslaughter conviction, rather than the potential life sentence he would have faced if convicted, court records show.

William Hommert, 26, pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the shooting death of 24-year-old Lance Barr. Hommert will be formally sentenced on June 15.

Hommert and Barr were in the middle of a conflict over Hommert’s girlfriend when Barr was shot, according to prosecutors, who pointed to text messages where Hommert told the woman he didn’t like “Remics,” referring to Barr’s nickname. Barr was shot and killed in October 2020, on the  2100 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Oakland.

Authorities say an SUV containing Hommert, his co-defendant Trevor Simpson, and a third man was seen doing “predatory laps” around where Barr was shortly before the shooting, and that Hommert exited the vehicle and walked up to Barr before opening fire. Hommert’s attorney said at the start of trial that police were quick to pin the crime on Hommert and rushed to judgment.

Simpson was initially charged with murder, but agreed to a plea deal with a major choice: face a life sentence for second degree murder, or testify against Hommert and take a manslaughter deal. He chose to testify, telling jurors that he spent the day hanging out with friends in Alameda, but ended up in a Toyota 4Runner with Hommert, who spotted Barr as they were driving through Oakland.

“He tried to shoot (Barr) and it didn’t work so he racked the slide back and shot three times,” Simpson testified, later adding, “I was scared.”

Simpson’s testimony will reduce his term to six years in state prison, rather than a potential sentence of 15 years to life, court records show.



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