An Oakland parolee charged in two Berkeley robberies in August has a lengthy and violent history of attacking elders, according to authorities and media reports dating back to 2008. Two of his alleged victims died following the attacks, and he had only recently been released from prison prior to the most recent incidents.
Jahton Green, 27, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Nov. 15 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in downtown Oakland. Due to his status as a parolee, he is not eligible for bail. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
On Aug. 22, authorities said Green robbed two men in Berkeley — ages 75 and 62 —as they were walking on the street in two different neighborhoods. He pushed one of the victims from behind before stealing his money, and struck the other one in the face, then hit and kicked him after he fell down, before stealing his cell phone and keys, according to court documents.
Green’s cell phone records placed him in Berkeley on the night of the incidents above, police said, “very close to the robbery locations.” Green denied being in Berkeley, according to court records. He was arrested Sept. 4 after police identified him as the suspect in the two cases and completed their investigation.
According to court documents, Green had recently been paroled for the 2008 robbery of an elderly woman in El Cerrito.
Arrested after “eight vicious attacks” in Berkeley
Green has a long history of preying on the elderly, according to authorities and media reports dating back to 2008.
In February of that year, Berkeley Police officers arrested Green and said he was responsible for eight “vicious attacks on elderly community members.”
Berkeley Police Sgt. Chris Stines, who was at that time a detective in the department’s robbery detail, said in a statement released after Green’s arrest that Green “showed little remorse for preying on some of the community’s most vulnerable.”
That statement described three attacks — including two in which the victims later died — that police said Green had committed.
In November 2007, police said Green robbed an 82-year-old Berkeley woman, knocking her to the sidewalk before he made off with her purse. The woman fractured her hip and required surgery.
According to The Berkeley Daily Planet, Green targeted elderly people leaving the grocery store. He would bike to the store, then wait for people who matched his “victim profile” to attack and rob.
“In the attacks, he would strike or punch his victim in the back of the head, knocking them to the ground,” former Berkeley Police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss told The Planet.
Three other robberies took place in Berkeley in December of that year, and a fourth took place in January 2008 when Green allegedly struck a woman and robbed her of her purse near Hearst Avenue and Bonita Street, according to The Planet.
That same month, according to the Berkeley Police Department, Green attacked a 78-year-old Berkeley man as he returned home: “The victim was left in a pool of blood. He suffered a broken hip, broken femur, (both of which required surgery), head injuries and permanent hearing loss.”
Later that month, according to police, Green attacked a 93-year-old Berkeley man after forcing his way into the man’s home on Oxford Street, police said: “Green made off with the man’s wallet, $320 cash, credit cards and keys. As a result of the beating, the victim had been hospitalized in critical care suffering from serious injury including permanent hearing loss.”
According to The Planet, during that incident, Green “picked up a suitcase and beat [the victim] in the head with it several times” before leaving.
Extensive evidence tied Green to attacks, police said
Berkeley detectives tracked Green down after he allegedly used credit cards and checks that had been stolen from the victims. Authorities found a treasure trove of evidence during a search of a home in Berkeley where Green reportedly spent a lot of time, police said.
During the search, officers “found 49 pieces of evidence directly linked to the crimes, including ‘four purses and lots of ID and credit cards,'” according to The Planet. Though police said they were “very confident” that Green was responsible for all eight robberies, not all of the victims were able to identify their attacker, so charges were only brought in connection with two of the incidents.
At the time of his arrest, in February 2008, Kusmiss described Green as “vicious,” according to the Oakland Tribune: “The nature of the attacks were such that he struck or assaulted the victims very quickly, subduing them by knocking them down.,” she said.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office filed charges against Green in connection with the two men who had been robbed and beaten in January, but the charges were later dropped after the men died, “on the grounds that the defense wasn’t done cross-examining one of the victims at the time of his death,” according to media reports.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 78-year-old victim, Robert Whitman, died in May 2008 due to bleeding in the brain. The Alameda County coroner’s office could not determine conclusively whether that injury had resulted from the beating in January. Whitman had identified Green as his attacker, and was in the midst of cross-examination by Green’s attorney at the time of his death.
According to the Oakland Tribune, Whitman died of a “massive stroke” shortly after he began his testimony during Green’s preliminary hearing. The testimony had been broken into at least two parts, and he died “just hours” after he took the stand.
According to a law enforcement source familiar with the case, Whitman was giving his testimony when he began to feel ill. The court took a recess, but Whitman continued to deteriorate. He died later that night.
The 93-year-old victim, Tchang Hoang, died six months after the attack, in China, where he had been taken to be close to relatives, according to the Chronicle. Hoang had been in a coma for several months, according to KTVU. Relatives said they did not want an autopsy performed.
Released after victims die; three weeks later, a new arrest
Less than a month after his release from custody in August 2008, authorities said Green attacked a 68-year-old El Cerrito woman after following her home from the grocery store, according to the Chronicle.
Authorities said he broke into the woman’s home, and “beat her in the face with his fists when she tried to escape.” He took about $600 that she’d collected at her church, according to the Chronicle.
According to court documents, Green had initially stalked a different victim, then later targeted a woman, Suhan Lai, as she was coming home from the Trader Joe’s in El Cerrito Plaza. (Green is referred to as “appellant” in the following quotation from a 2011 court filing.)
“As she opened the refrigerator, she suddenly noticed appellant standing in her kitchen. Lai was scared to death. Appellant asked, ‘Where’s the money’? Lai went to the dining room where her handbag was on a chair. Appellant followed her, took the handbag, and removed a little purse that was inside. Lai hurried to the front door, trying to get away. As she tried to open the door, appellant grabbed her left arm and punched her in the left eye with his fist. She fell to the ground.”
An Albany Police officer later spotted Green waiting for a bus at Solano and San Pablo avenues with “a wad of money” in his waistband, according to court documents. In addition, officers said they found a check belonging to the victim in Green’s apartment building in Albany, just blocks from where the robbery had taken place. Police also said they recovered Lai’s cell phone and other possessions of hers in a nearby trash can; witnesses told police they had seen Green dumping numerous items there just after the robbery.
In June 2009, a Contra Costa County jury convicted Green of home-invasion robbery, burglary, elder abuse and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the Chronicle. He faced a sentence of up to six years and eight months.
At the time of Green’s conviction, the deputy district attorney trying the case told the Chronicle that the jury had made the right decision: “Justice has long been overdue on this guy.”
According to court documents, Green ultimately was sentenced to five years in prison.
The exact date of Green’s release from prison was not available, but Berkeley Police said in court documents that he “had recently been paroled” prior to the two Berkeley robberies in August.
Green is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Nov. 15 in connection with the Berkeley cases. He is set to appear at 9 a.m. in Department 12 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, at 1225 Fallon St., in Oakland. That hearing may be postponed, however, as a second session is noted for the same date and time that appears aimed to set the case forward to a future date, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.