Inverness Park woman loses son in Oakland beating

Courtesy of Linda Sturdivant
Anthony Owens lived in West Marin in the 1990s, waiting tables, booking music at the Western and working at the copy shop. The 45-year-old Oakland resident was beaten to death this month.  

An Inverness Park woman has seen more tragedy in the last several years than many of her neighbors may see in a lifetime. Linda Sturdivant was speaking to her caregiver at home on July 18 when the phone rang bearing a 510 area code. East Bay numbers came with an immediate chill. “I hate answering these phone calls because it could be about my son,” she told Nancy. To her horror, she was terribly correct. On the other line was a nurse at an Oakland hospital calling to tell her that her son, Anthony Owens, had been killed. He was discovered beaten by an unknown assailant near Lake Merritt on the morning of July 16, and he died from the injuries the following day. He was 45 years old. Mr. Owens lived in West Marin for a couple of years in the 1990s, waiting tables at The Station House Café, booking music at the Old Western and working at a copy shop, Ms. Sturdivant said. Upon hearing the news of her son’s death, she said she screamed out in pain at the loss of her last biological child. Six years ago, her daughter, Seeva Cherms, committed suicide at her Grass Valley home. And in 2013, Ms. Sturdivant’s longtime partner, Terry Gray, was killed in Rohnert Park after he was struck by a vehicle. “I’m the only one left and I don’t know why,” she said. “Thank god I have my adopted son... He’s the only one left.” Two weeks after Anthony’s death, Ms. Sturdivant recalled his freckled face and love of learning as she clutched seven strands of his brown dreadlocks. Anthony was born on Sept. 28, 1971 in Carson City, Nev. and was raised between South Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and Venice Beach. He became a vegan at 18, followed the Grateful Dead on tour and advocated for cannabis legalization. Ms. Sturdivant said he taught her how to eat right and to reject anger. “I’m trying not to be bitter because he wouldn’t want me to be angry,” she said. Bill Colbert, his father, said his son had been in the process of changing his life; he had enrolled in a computer programing school and was moving into a new apartment at the end of July. In Inverness Park, Ms. Sturdivant’s kitchen table has been transformed into a celebration of life for her son. There’s a black hair pick, three bouquets, his driver’s license, incense and a candle that has been burning since the day she learned of his death. On a wall are photographs of her family: an endearing shot of Mr. Gray kissing her head and pictures of Ms. Cherms that span her lifetime. “I’ve lost my partner, my daughter and my son,” she said. “Here I sit with his dreadlocks, memories and a wall full of dead people.” Anthony’s death, the 37th homicide in Oakland this year, is still under investigation. Anthony is survived by his mother Linda, father Bill and his daughter Sarah.