On Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, Seth Sears a 39-year-old resident of Richmond, CA, pled guilty to first degree murder during his trial for the 2015 killing of victim Neil Akin. Sears will be formally sentenced on September 27 before the Honorable Judge Charles Burch in Department 23 of the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. Sears in his pleading also admitted to using a firearm during the murder. He is expected to receive 25 years to life in state prison.
“The defendant pled guilty as charged to the first degree murder of Neil Akin, and further admitted that he personally used and fired the weapon that killed Mr. Akin. We hope that the defendant’s full admission of responsibility will help the victim’s family find closure after four long years,” Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Satish Jallepalli stated. DDA Jallepalli prosecuted the case and is assigned to our Office’s Homicide Unit. DDA Alison Chandler and DDA Colleen Gleason also prosecuted the case for our Office.
In September 2015, the victim’s body was found deceased in Oakland with a gunshot wound to the head. Days earlier, the defendant shot Akin and left his body initially in the defendant’s apartment in Richmond. Sears wrapped the body in trash bags and used silver tape to bind the bags together to try to conceal the body. He rented a white van in El Cerrito and used the van to transport the body from his apartment to Oakland. Surveillance video in Oakland showed a similar white van in the vicinity of where the body was found.
Fortunately, a witness came forward to report that Sears had invited her over after the murder while the victim’s body was still in his apartment, and implored her to help him dispose of the body. She refused to help him cover up the crime and later met with the Richmond Police Department to describe what she had seen.
Case information: People v. Seth Rumi Sears, Docket Number 05-171844-4