Guilty verdict in murder over counterfeit cash at marijuana deal

OAKLAND — An East Bay man was awaiting sentencing after he was convicted of murdering a 17-year-old boy during a marijuana deal in Fremont, court records show.

Christian Kelling, 24, of Fremont, was convicted in the death of 17-year-old Damani Chadly but acquitted of attempted murder in the nonfatal shooting of Chadly’s friend, who was also present for the December 2018 incident. Chadly and his friend bought marijuana from Kelling but paid for it with counterfeit cash, prompting Kelling to shoot five times into their fleeing vehicle, according to prosecutors.

Kelling’s September trial included testimony from Chadly’s friend, as well as a friend of Kelling’s who testified that Kelling paid him $5,000 to borrow his Toyota Camry after the shooting, and confessed to shooting at the car. Kelling said he was in “deep water” and gave details of the shooting, according to the friend.

“He told me that they tried to offer fake money for weed and he got upset and he fired the five rounds into the vehicle,” Kelling’s friend testified at a November 2019 preliminary hearing.

Chadly, the son of 106.1 KMEL on-air personality Kareem “Radio Reem” Chadly, was a senior at California High School in San Ramon who was passionate about music. He worked with Youth Radio producing songs and teaching music production. His father formed a nonprofit, Dads Evoking Change, aimed at helping fathers “navigate the family court process” in the days after Chadly’s death.

During the preliminary hearing, Chadly’s friend said they never expected Kelling to use lethal force over $200 in fake cash, and that he panicked and crashed his car after the shooting, scared that Kelling would catch up with them and kill him too.

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