Relatives remember slain Berkeley woman

Jessica Kingeter. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos

Jessica Kingeter. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos

The young Berkeley woman who was stabbed to death in East Oakland at the end of December loved cooking, dancing and styling hair.

Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter grew up in Berkeley and Albany, dancing for 12 seasons in The Nutcracker at the Julia Morgan Theater on College Avenue, swimming in Lake Anza over the summer, and helping her mother with a radio show about dancing on KPFA, according to her father, in a comment on Berkeleyside.

The 26-year-old was known for her toothy smile and her warm demeanor.

“She was just a sweet girl. She was always laughing, always had that big smile,” said cousin Cindy Burgos of Georgia.

Burgos described Kingeter as “really loving and really close to her family.”

Kingeter had been working at a salon in Albany since September, said Betty Rajabi, owner of La Nana Salon & Spa.

“She was really sweet and wonderful, really smart,” said Rajabi. “I was just shocked about what happened.”

Family members said Kingeter had a passion for cooking, and wanted to go to culinary school. She was already taking classes, according to her father, Chuck Kingeter. Her last class focused on Mediterranean-style cooking, at a culinary arts program in St. Helena.

Kingeter posted a lengthy comment on Berkeleyside that included memories of his daughter.

“Our beloved daughter made us happy everyday of our lives,” he wrote. “Our loving daughter Jessica Kingeter was warm hearted, kind, loving, trusting, smart, 26 years of friendship laughter and love, long talks and walks, singing, cooking, baking,dancing, swimming, diving, reading, re-reading, learning how to sew dresses, shirts and jackets. Learning how to be a teenager, young adult, and adult, learning how to drive and the fear that came with that.! (to us parents and the car insurance!)”

He continued: “Teaching balance and equilibrium; learning how to ride a Bike! and the fear that came with that.! First boy friend and the talk about sex … Yikes !!!!”

Kingeter recalled the sound of “young voices and the pitter patter of little feet” at the Julia Morgan Theater, where his daughter danced in The Nutcracker from the age of 5, as well as The Rite of Spring and other recitals around Easter.

He also wrote of Jessica as a child, “sitting on her mom’s lap by the microphone meeting and greeting the human beings who are shaping our consciousness in regard to the meaning of dance,” as her mother, Shantee Baker, hosted a radio show, called “Dance on Air,” on KPFA Radio.

Kingeter shared a rush of memories of his daughter, and “a rich life here in Berkeley.” Swimming classes in Strawberry canyon, watching the Cal Bears, the A’s, the Giants and the Warriors (“too many games to think about right now”), the carousel at Tilden, and also “that crazy folk dance tradition” of dancing around the maypole at Tilden. A summer when Jessica traveled through Europe after high school, staying with family and friends. And Christmas dinner, last year in Hawaii, with President Barack Obama and the First Lady.

“Jessica did not leave this planet peacefully and her death was harsh and senseless,” he wrote. “Jessica made us laugh, cry and laugh she carried in her A great heart Great laughter and song But she is no longer sharing time with us here on earth …. together….. No new memories will be made, we have only the memories of when she was with us …”

Seeing photographs of his daughter, he wrote, was particularly “unreal”: “You just repeat over and over and over.. Is there any way you can come back to us Jessica cause we miss u so, so much.”

Jessica’s mother, Shantee Baker of Albany, declined to comment for this story.

“I am working on my own story about Jessica at this time,” she wrote.

Jamaal Prince of Berkeley, whom police say confessed to Kingeter’s killing, is scheduled to enter a plea in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland on Monday morning. According to his Facebook page, he was a student at Berkeley City College and graduated in 2009. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1996.

New details emerge in stabbing of Berkeley woman [01.04.13]
Five-time felon charged with murder of Berkeley woman [01.03.13]

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  • Jessica and I loved to walk on the UCB grounds from Oxford up to the library or onward to PFA to see a movie; afterwards up to the International House Cafe looking out into the Bay or Strada Café outside and active or Cafe Milano inside and warm.

    At Cafe Milano we talked over hot chocolate about Jean-Luc Godard Masculin, feminine which Jessica loved every detail of; the crisp clean black and white image, the acting, the locations, the dialogue, I can see her happy exuberate facial expressions; her smile and hear her laughter the most. This gives me peace, not much but some.

    At Strada Café the seed of an idea started to cultivate while enjoying our hot chocolate in the stillness and quiet of the moment; when suddenly the chatter started up, crackling of dishes and a series of words and phrases were caught by Jessica and shared; then we laughed cause it was funny … maybe even a poem…

    A week or two later at the International Cafe reading a list of banned books. We asked the cashier for a sharpie and started to block out words in the article (s) kinda like tic tac toe, so much fun. Jessica and i agreed to create mash-up poems together using a shared email account (draft folder) and books from here:

    A National Library Week mash-up poem from Catcher in the Rye and Psychology books:

    Luke – Warmness
    Unpleasant to breathe the air
    Out in the world again
    After the cloister of the university
    It feels good in the coffee shop
    As small ribbed bicycles
    Turn on the counter tops
    Professors riding by in Volkswagens
    Outside the sign reads no partaking
    On the gang plank of personal expression
    Painting with words or speaking in colors
    If all you have is a hammer
    You tend to treat everything like a nail
    And in the secret alphabet of
    Overwhelming necessity
    The act of love and the act of poetry
    Are not compatible with
    The reading aloud of a newspaper
    But of amorous navigation

    A Banned Book Week mash-up poem from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

    Neon blinking
    Traffic light
    Looks like an enormous
    Night light of a hotel
    Beating in the street
    Like a heart
    The telephone
    Half sad to relate
    Sits on the floor
    Yackata Yakaking

    A mash-up poem from caught conversation (s) and observations at Café Strada

    Cosmic Vanilla Tobacco Realities
    Listen I’ll write a poem
    But don’t you laugh
    Four streets surround us
    We’ll call them Red green amber
    Elephants at the circus
    And I saw you talking too
    I don’t want you to be sick anymore
    You know, but why
    Why do you want to whistle
    This morning Telephone
    I don’t want to, I don’t want to
    And he’s squeezing Me
    Too, too hard this morning

    Jessica and I were clearly more productive and collaborated well when together

    UC Berkeley is spilling out into our community in many creative ways please don’t forget to catch it, before it disappears. We were cultivating for Jennifer Jessica Jean Kingeter a rich life. It has come full circle now .. how sad .. our first mash-up was none other than from Finnegans Wake let the Irish in our souls give thanks for bringing Jessica into my life regardless of all this pain and suffering. Jessica please come back cause we miss you…

    Let’s fight for Justice …
    BUT let’s not forget Jessica and our shared moments with Jessie and start to tell stories of a father’s joy with his one and only Daughter.

    I am giving a personal Shout Out to the Matt Garcia Family and Polly Klaas Family
    .. I feel their pain all too close…

    Peace, peace and more peace, cause we just can’t get enough


  • I’m so sorry for your loss, Chuck.

  • anon

    What was she doing in East Oakland?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    whatever it was, she didn’t deserve this fate.

  • The Sharkey

    Why does it matter? Would her death be more tragic if it happened in the Berkeley Hills?

  • BerkeleyFarm

    So very, very sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies to you, the rest of the family, and all her friends.

  • Gabriella your kinds words mean more than you can image … Thank You

  • Thank you very much BerkeleyFarms your sympathies soften our loss and help us connect to humanity again …

  • Thank you PragmaticProgressive … i believe anon means .. are the police doing their due diligence in collecting all the facts … i think so and time will tell … protecting the innocence is good for communities ….

  • The Sharkey your words ring true and your comment means more than you can image peace be with you my friend