Demarcus Ralls called himself a "nut case." The 21-year-old man belonged to a small but vicious Oakland street gang that went by that name as well.
As reported by today's San Francisco Chronicle, Ralls is on trial for his life this week, charged in a string of murders and robberies that plagued Oakland over a 10-week period of 2002 and 2003.
"This small gang of thugs drove up Oakland's violent crime rate by themselves," said Mayor Jerry Brown. "These arrests probably saved some lives and made Oakland a much safer place."
Ralls, who turned 18 during the crime spree, has confessed to five killings and 23 robberies. He told police he and other Nut Case members would spend their days taking drugs and playing Grand Theft Auto III. When they became bored with the game they would act out what they'd played in real life.
An Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner has issued a gag order in the Ralls trial. But the Chronicle reports that case files show the Nut Case crimes were committed for thrills and bragging rights.