New details emerge in stabbing of Berkeley woman

Jessica Kingeter, left, with cousin Cindy Burgos. The Berkeley woman killed last Friday in an East Oakland apartment complex loved cooking, ballet dancing and styling hair, family members said. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos

Jessica Kingeter, left, with cousin Cindy Burgos. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos

The five-time felon charged in the stabbing death of Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter was found at the scene of her killing naked and covered in blood with a knife nearby, according to authorities.

Last week, police arrested Jamaal Prince, 34, of Berkeley in Kingeter’s death. He was charged Monday, Dec. 31, with murder, and is set to appear in court to enter a plea this coming Monday.

According to court documents, police found Prince “at the scene of a homicide naked, covered in blood in close proximity to a bloody knife.” Police said Prince was treated at Highland Hospital for several cuts to his hands, and was then “cleared for incarceration.”

Police said, in the declaration of probable cause for Prince’s arrest, that he waived his rights during the police interview, and “confessed to stabbing the victim multiple times.”

According to Oakland Police Department Sgt. Christopher Bolton, police received a call to an apartment complex at 5800 Walnut St. in East Oakland at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28.

The call, reporting that a man had been stabbed on Walnut, was transfered to police from the Oakland Fire Department’s dispatch center, he said.

When police arrived, they found Prince, who had wounds on his hands. They also found Kingeter, who was unresponsive and suffering from apparent stab wounds in a nearby apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police earlier told the Oakland Tribune that Kingeter and Prince were acquaintances, and that her body was found in an apartment belonging to a friend of Prince’s. (Family members have said Kingeter did not know Prince previously.)

According to the Tribune: Police “said Prince and Kingeter were acquaintances but he did not know how long they had known each other. The stabbing ended a dispute the two had had, but police would not say what it was over.”

Bolton said Friday that he was unable to confirm that level of detail both because that information was not readily available, and also to protect the on-going nature of the investigation.

Prior convictions didn’t count as strikes

Jamaal Prince, via Facebook

Jamaal Prince, via Facebook

Many community members have wondered how it was that a five-time felon, convicted in 2010 of an attack on his mother causing great bodily injury, would already have been released from prison.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Prince was released on Sept. 1 after being sentenced to five years and eight months in prison in November 2010. Prince served his sentence, and received “day for day” credit for time served, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the department. That means, essentially, that he received a day of credit for every day of good behavior while he was incarcerated.

The length of the sentence is based on state law, said Sessa, and credit is given both to encourage inmates to behave and to make prison safer for inmates and staff.

“That’s not the same as being released early,” he said. “It’s being released according to the way the statute tells us to administer the sentence. It depends on the crime and it depends on when someone was convicted. Sentencing laws change all the time.”

According to the Alameda County district attorney’s office, none of Prince’s prior felony convictions were serious enough, under the state criminal code, to count toward the state’s “three strikes” law, which can result in a sentence of 25 years to life for people convicted of three or more serious offenses.

Assistant district attorney Micheal O’Connor said specific crimes are defined by law as “serious” or “violent,” and Prince’s prior convictions did not fall into these categories.

“We don’t charge ‘three strikes’ lightly in Alameda County,” said O’Connor. “But if it was eligible, as in a murder, we would definitely charge it.”

Prince’s most recent conviction, in 2010, was for an assault likely to cause great bodily injury; but the assault did not count as a strike, said O’Connor, because it involved just force, and not what is defined as a deadly weapon.

His last conviction

According to a 2010 news report during Prince’s trial in that case, authorities said Prince tried to choke his mother, Jacqueline Stewart, while he was “high on drugs” and ranting to himself. In a 911 call recorded during the incident “Prince can be heard telling his mother that she is going to die and Stewart is heard screaming for help,” according to a 2010 Oakland Tribune article.

According to the story, Prince’s mother gave a similar version of the attack to police initially, but later “recanted her statement and downplayed the events” after she learned her son had been charged with three felonies that could send him to prison for nine years.

According to a man who identified himself as Kingeter’s father in a comment on Berkeleyside, the Alameda County coroner’s office released the young woman’s body to her family on Friday.

Five-time felon charged with murder of Berkeley woman [01.03.13]

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  • The Sharkey

    According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Prince was released on Sept. 1 after being sentenced to five years and eight months in prison in November 2010. Prince served
    his sentence, and received “day for day” credit for time served, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the department. That means, essentially, that he received a day of credit for every day of good behavior for
    which he was incarcerated.

    The length of the sentence is based on state law, said Sessa, and credit is given both to encourage inmates to behave and to make prison safer for inmates and staff.

    “That’s not the same as being released early,”

    So releasing an inmate after serving just half their sentence isn’t releasing them early, as long as they put on a smile when the guards walk by?

    Sometimes I feel like we need to burn all our legal books and documents and just start from scratch.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    So it looks like the three strikes law should be made tougher not more lenient.

  • The Sharkey

    Or at the very least that serious felonies (bodily injury) need harsher sentencing since convicts can halve their prison sentence without doing much.

  • emraguso

    I thought it was interesting that burglary, a property crime that generally happens when no victim is even there, counts as serious (hence a strike)… but apparently choking someone and telling them they are going to die does not. I added hyperlinks above if people are curious about what counts as “serious” and “violent” according to the code.

  • warmtrooper72

    Wow this article makes me sick. Violence that causes “great bodily injury” is not counted as a strike in Alameda? And Oakland (and Berkeley) is in Alameda county? No wonder the thugs are free. Also, why not show a photo of the suspect? Is it because he is black? This whole thing stinks of PC whitewash. Meanwhile, innocent people are unnecessarily put at risk and die.

  • emraguso

    We asked earlier today for a picture of him, but agencies have different policies on whether to release these, and it’s at their discretion.

  • yodler

    This article has gotten the law wrong but I agree it is confusing. In 2010, Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) included assault with a deadly weapon and assault with “force likely to cause great bodily injury.” Those two subsections have now been broken out into separate statutes, the “force likely” now codified as 245(a)(4) (as of 2012). The statute as it was in 2010 (and remains today with the separately enumerated subsection), is used widely to capture many different types of conduct. 245(a)(1) could (and still can) be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. When 245(a)(1) was charged as a felony, but when the complaint enumerated “force likely to cause great bodily injury” rather than “assault with a deadly weapon,” the former was not a strike and the latter was. However, and this is where the article is wrong, once an assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, under 245(a)(1), actually DOES cause great bodily injury, it becomes a violent felony and a strike. Strikes are enumerated in 667.5 and 1192.7 of the penal code. It’s 667.5(c)(8) that makes the otherwise non-strike assault with force likely a strike if the assault actually causes GBI. Any felony that causes great bodily injury is a violent felony, also known as a strike, and for which a defendant would serve 85% of his sentence rather than 50%. So it sounds like back in 2010 the deal he struck was a non-strike, which means likely that the injuries were not that bad or there were proof problems.

  • emraguso

    That paragraph is actually the way it was explained to me (as I understood it) by the DA’s office, so it should have been attributed and should have been more specific. After seeing your comment, I made some edits to that paragraph above. I’m not totally sure it addresses your points, but it more accurately reflects the explanation I received.

  • yodler

    cool, thanks.

  • zzz

    stupid white girl getting involved with a schwartze……….

  • Nosocs

    The State of CA/Parole Board, and their Method is absurd, there are individuals who make decisions to release convicts ‘early'(State Law they say, yet will NEVER release Manson….why? State Law says…..), yet these same individuals who ‘should’ be held accountable for their respective decisions, are NOT held accountable, and are able to ‘slide’ under some BS excuse that ‘the state’ mad them do it, etc….
    This person had NO RIGHT to be out on the street….and the PAROLE BOARD should have to answer.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    The thing with photos is this — you don’t want to ruin someone’s reputation by accident. The justice system is hardly perfect – tons of innocent people are caught up (see how many people are being freed from death row now that DNA science has evolved). Not showing photos is a very sound policy as a result — there is very little to be gained and the risk to an innocent defendant is dramatically high.

    Keep in mind we’re a country that believes that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty. Let’s not undermine our basic core values of justice. I am as annoyed as you sound by most PC crap; but this isn’t a case of that.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Keep in mind that many developed nations have dramatically shorter sentences than we do, with a far lower rate of crime. Tossing people into jail and throwing away the key is dumb; it’s expensive and it simply doesn’t work. On the other hand if you’re going to be dumb that way (and do crazy long sentences that simply do not work), you might as well at least give people in jail a reason to play nice as this law is designed to do.

  • bgal4

    This suspect waived his rights and admitted at the scene of stabbing Jessica dozens of times.

  • bgal4

    His mugshot is on the internet.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    I agree with you that this is a very sad case that potentially could have been prevented. That doesn’t mean we should throw away our basic American values of treating suspects as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    For the question of confession specifically – look at how many false confessions happen routinely in police work. It’s really not unprecedented by any means; I am NOT saying that’s the case in this specific instance, just that it’s not a reasonable standard by which we treat someone as guilty in this country — not until the courts do their job properly.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Wrong. We have some of the toughest, longest sentences in the developed world. Yet lots of countries have dramatically lower levels of crime with far more gentle, sane, and less expensive jail systems and sentences. I think it was Denmark that I read about the other day that has jails that feel like summer homes; yet they have the lowest levels of crime at the same time.

    Jails don’t solve the underlying social issues. It’s a dirty bandaid on an already infected wound. We need to start solving the underlying problems and actually reducing crime — and tons of other countries can be seen as examples on how to do that in a sane and civilized manner.

  • bgal4

    plenty of newspapers around the country routinely published mug shots, mug shots from arrests, prior to conviction. I am not sure who you are trying to convince here, but publishing mug shots does not violate any laws.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    I am not saying that it violates laws; rather I am saying it’s not necessarily a good idea in the overall public interest. There is really very little to be gained for public safety by releasing mugshots, and a HUGE risk to innocent people wrongly arrested.

  • bgal4

    Your assumption does not track with the evidence, have you ever lived in a small town, releasing a mug shot is a deterrent, people care about their reputations. Jamaal Prince has been convicted of multiple crimes, there is little risk of damaging his reputation needlessly.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    But you can’t let the animals out in the mean time…while you are reconstructing our society.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Yes, I know civil liberties are kind of unpopular these days. Terrorism and murderers and all that. Let’s just bring some gulags from the Soviet Union over here… oh wait, we already did that with Guantanamo too! Shameful. We’re a nation that’s supposed to be leading the way in freedom and liberty as a shining beacon of democracy; instead we’re falling behind Iran and China.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Wrong again. I am not talking about society. I am talking about the justice system itself. Treating human beings as “animals” is the REASON we have all this crime in the first place. Start dealing with real causes of crime instead of the symptoms and you might actually start avoiding terrible situations like this.

  • bgal4

    hyperbolic nonsense, get a grip, it is a f… mugshot

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Yes, and we are a nation with a tradition of respecting people’s civil liberties. You are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you don’t like that, there are plenty of countries that do otherwise.

  • seems_odd

    What was she doing in deep East Oakland with a deranged felon named Jamaal, who she didn’t know previously, at 2:30 in the morning? There may be a good explanation but I’m struggling to come up with one. Yes, the victim may deserve some blame.

  • bgal4

    Here is more public record info including inmate’s PFN which you might believe better censored.


    BLACK MALE 01/29/1978 BROWN BLACK 5’07” 300

    Docket 583882 Alameda County Superior Court

  • Disgusted

    “Yes, the victim may deserve some blame.”

    I find this comment particularly disgusting. The person to blame is the creep who confessed to stabbing her numerous times.

  • Just shut up, you sound like you need to think. Rather than making liberal feel good excuses, accept the fact that some people have no concept of personal responsibility.

  • Oaklander

    Vladislav, you’re completely right, but I think your point might be lost on some of the commenters on this thread. Some years ago, a member of my family was murdered after first being tortured and raped. The guy who did it eventually went to jail, but served less than 20 years. I don’t think I or anyone else in my family would have taken the slightest solace in his picture being published on the internet. The type of person who commits a murder is not going to be deterred by the chance his neighbors might see his photo on the internet. IMO these demands for mugshots are mostly cryporacist in nature (maybe not even that crypto). Thanks for standing up for the rights of the accused, which are just as important as the rights of the accusers.

    My deepest condolences to the family of the victim.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Try again. I just happen to think that we should efficiently and effectively use taxpayer dollars to properly prevent crime. Just because you haven’t considered how most civilized nations deal with crime (in FAR more effective ways than the United States) doesn’t mean this has anything to do with some rather bizarre notions of “personal responsibility”.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    No one deserves to be killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Suggestions otherwise do nothing to meaningfully address the fundamental reasons for violence; and give really absurd excuses for inaction on behalf of our society to doing so. I won’t even mention being profoundly disrespectful to the dead woman and her family.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    act like an animal get treated like an animal…pretty simple!

  • emraguso

    Speaking of parole, one part of this I’m still trying to track down is that, rather than being released to the parole board, Prince was discharged to the Antioch Police Department on a warrant. I’m not clear on why this was or exactly what it means…except I think it means, in part, he wasn’t on parole. I have a call into the Antioch Police Department to get more information.

  • emraguso

    I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.

  • Justice4Victims

    How about the fact that printing someone’s picture just might warn other potential victims of who the guy is. Maybe you or anyone else in your family would take no solace from the rapist/torturer/murderer’s photo being posted on the internet, but perhaps another person and family might if it could have prevented THEIR family member from suffering the same fate.

  • Justice4Victims

    Tell all that face to face to the family of Jessica Kingeter. I think they might argue otherwise; i.e. that keeping a criminal already convicted of trying to MURDER HIS MOTHER in prison for his full sentence would have prevented HER murder by his hands. I don’t think indiscriminately tossing people into jail for nonviolent crimes is wise, but I and most rational people who are at risk of, or who have been, victimized feel quite differently about violent offenders. Of course, often when the victims are women, the crimes are not seen as serious as when they are committed against a man — to whit, just compare the sentences for those who commit crimes against women vs. any other group. I’m not surprised a man would choose to loftily lecture all and sundry about the law and what developed vs. not- nations would do. Frankly I don’t care about what other countries do. I live in the U.S. of A. and it is here that concerns me. If you are so impressed with what other countries do in relation to ours, perhaps it is you who should move on.

  • Justice4Victims

    Yep, the Netherlands have these “summer camp” prisons you extoll, And, the guy who killed all those people and children in a huge mass murder has boasted more than once, he will walk away from there whenever he feels like it and do the same again. He knows he can and he probably will. Bravo for Denmark et al!!!

  • Justice4Victims

    Nonsense, the whole criminal justice system is based upon personal responsibility and whether or not it is taken. Yes, you can say poverty, “the Man,” and years of racism and sexism etc… affect crime commissions and we should address those conditions. Well and good; do it already and stop spouting on about what other countries do. And, BTW, I’d like to know your definition of “civilized” — countries who don’t make your list might object to your applying your Western values to them and their cultures as being xenophobic. However, there is NO denying that some people have no moral compass and they LOVE people like you stepping up to defend them. But have no doubt, they would cut you in a second if it suited their purposes. Do-good folks are victimized all the time by criminals they take a stand for due to misguided principles of justice and the American way, and all men are innocent until proven guilty — whether or not they are found at the scene of a crime, naked and dripping with blood, clutching a huge knife in their hand, and telling all and sundry, “I DID IT.” Get real — this is NOT the case on which to base your arguments and it’s an insult to Jessica Kingeter’s family that you even try.

  • Justice4Victims

    I won’t even mention being profoundly disrespectful to the dead woman and her family. Well, I will mention it: Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black?

  • guest

    Vlad, I really like your tone, and I think your argument has merit. However, I think that some of the differences between European countries and ours have to do with cultural differences that are not necessarily fixable by simply changing our laws. It would be nice if we could change our laws (say, gun regulation) so that they are more like those in Europe, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t work. Indeed, we really have no idea what would work; the rate of many crimes have dropped dramatically in the last thirty years in the US and no one really has a clue as to why, since the drop occurred in cities that employed radically different straggles, from “lock them all up” to community policing.

  • SarahSiddell

    Friends, I have enjoyed the conversations in the comments about Berkeleyside stories. However, a few people like Vladislav_Davidzon are starting to hijack these conversations, posting again and again and again, the equivalent of screaming your opinions at a party. To date, this guy has posted TEN times in this one comments section. TWELVE people have responded to him. I’ve seen this happen on other sites, and the comments have become boring and unreadable. I’d like to recommend we watch for such people and ignore their shouting for attention.


    California Lawmakers strike again….how many strikes do they get for useless laws they pass over and over..INSANITY RULES THE STATE HOUSE!!!!! Apparently we always pay the price for their incompetence….ban guns, ban knives, ban CONGRESS MIGHT BE A BETTER IDEA!!!

  • REALLY!!!

    even if she was somewhere she wasnt suppose to be that does not mean she deserved to die!! People make wrong decisions every day and are at the wrong place at the wrong time does that mean all these people deserve to be brutally stabbed. My cousin was a sweet girl and loved each and everyone of her family and did not deserve what happened to her no matter if she was in a place she wasnt suppose to be. Watch what you say bc her family is grieving for her

  • Robyn

    A message sent to President Obama

    Dear President Obama,
    You had the honor of sharing Christmas dinner 2011 with a kind and lovely young woman, Jennifer (Jessie) Kingeter in Hawaii. It was one of the most memorable moments of her life. On December 28, 2012 she was brutally murdered by a paroled monster whom was convicted and sentenced in 2010 to five years in prison for attempted murder of his own Mother, he was released nearly three years early and this is the result of his early release.

    Please help give Jessie a voice and let’s not let her death be in vain. We need tougher laws on violent criminals and crimes against women.

  • lindaWC

    While I think both felonies should be strikes, let me tell you that burglary has victims that are seriously affected by it. It happened to me twice in a 10-day span in my nice “safe” neighborhood and I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone. It has changed so much for the worse and a little over a year later I am still being affected, mentally (the fear never goes away, neither does the anger), medically (stress-induced shingles and fibromyalgia) and financially ($thousands in uninsured losses, costs to protect my home, and a major insurance rate hike this year). The police caught the guy they think did it (he admitted to a spree of burglaries in the area) and he was convicted. Like this guy, he had seven prior felonies, only one that counted as a strike, a home burglary less than a year earlier that he was on probation for. He was sentenced to four years in state prison. Although he was by law supposed to serve at least 80% of his sentence, he was instead given one year in county jail. By this “good behavior” clause I am guessing he is already out, ready to prey on someone else. Our criminal justice system is in the toilet, and only getting worse and letting more and more people like Prince back on the streets where it’s only a matter of time before they kill someone.

  • bgal4

    Clearly you do not understand the 6th amendment or the CA disclosure laws regarding police records. The mug shot is part of arrest record which is public information, law enforcement can use discretion with the photos. In this case I suspect law enforcement has not released the photo because of the condition of the suspect. While you have spouted your misinformation over and over, you missed the actual violation, releasing criminal history. There must be some discretion allowed in including criminal history in the arrest document, but in general, criminal history is not public information, arrest information is. This is a case of substantial violence, and the community has a right to be fully informed.

    Ironically, you are actually arguing against Open Government laws, the very laws which protect the innocent from being falsely accused and prosecuting by a corrupt government.

    I will not respond to you again and I agree the moderators should reduce the noise when a commenter just keeps repeating themselves as you have.

    Try reading Cal. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 03-205 (2003)
    and other legal sources about the matter easily found on the internet.

  • lindaWC

    p.s. I am in no way comparing my situation with Jessica’s, which is so so horrible and sad, only pointing out that burglary has its victims as well, who can be severely affected by it.

  • bgal4

    Thank you for speaking the truth. and I am very sorry that you too have joined the ranks of crime victims whose lives are damaged. The perps have more rights and privileges than responsible moral folks.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    You are confused. I have stated clearly that my argument is not that laws were violated (we live in a time when our President chooses to execute American citizens without trial — that fact speaks for itself); rather our nation until recently has had a very proud and long tradition of treating people as being innocent until proven guilty. This isn’t a question of laws, but a question of our values as a civil democracy.

    The suspect in this case is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and must be treated as such. While the facts appear fairly clear, if we’re going to continue to be a civil democratic nation, we must respect our basic traditions of justice.