Manuel Lopez, 26, of Oakley, and David Olveda, 19, of Brentwood, have been charged with homicide with a gang enhancement, according to Police Lt. Kevin King. Because the crime was not premeditated they are not eligible for the death penalty, but the gang enhancement to the charge could increase the penalty if they are convicted.
They are accused of using various weapons, which King declined to identify, to cause blunt force trauma to the head and torso of Gary Costanza, 42, a transient who was associated with the Brentwood area, according to King. The crime occurred outside of an apartment complex on Berry Lane near Broderick Drive in Brentwood.
Lopez was arrested on Saturday in the area of O'Hara Avenue in Oakley. Olveda was booked while he was in custody on unrelated charges. Both are being held in lieu of $1.1 bail each.
Police believe Costanza was an associate of Lopez and Olveda, but King declined to provide specifics on the motive or suspected gang affiliation of the three men. "As much as I would like to give you everything, I am not going to jeopardize a successful prosecution," said King.
At the time Costanza was killed some neighbors said the apartment complex is a constant source of noise and traffic that may be related to drug sales, adding that police are called to the site frequently.
"Every time you turn around there's a police car there," said one neighbor who asked to remain anonymous. "Always a lot going on there. People are always coming and going. They park their car down the street and go into an apartment and come out a few minutes later. It's pretty obvious what's going on."
The problems began about seven years ago when the complex was sold and the new owners made the apartments available to Section 8 households.
"I realize those people are down on their luck," said another neighbor who would only speak on condition of anonymity. "But all the problems started when they went Section 8. A big part of the problem is that the owners are absentee landlords. They collect their money and they don't care about the neighborhood."