Tag Archives: Andrea Cukor

Mentally ill man who killed Peter Cukor of Berkeley is committed to Napa State Hospital for 33 years to life

Andrea Cukor, whose husband Peter Cukor was murdered by a mentally ill man in 2012, speaks to reporters after the sentencing. Behind her, her son Alexander Cukor listens to her comments. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Daniel DeWitt, the mentally ill man who bludgeoned Peter Cukor to death in his Berkeley Hills home in 2012, was committed Friday to 33 years to life at the Napa State Hospital.

Judge Paul Delucchi handed down the long sentence after listening to the impassioned testimony of Cukor’s widow, Andrea, his son Alexander, and his close friend Percival Banks. Delucchi described the case as one of the most tragic and serious he has ever seen in his court, the result of “a remarkable, almost unbelievable, sequence of events.”

“I won’t sit here and guarantee that this won’t happen again,” said Judge DeLucchi, looking at the Cukors and about 20 of their friends sitting in the courtroom. “I can guarantee Mr. Dewitt won’t do it again, but that comes at an incredible cost.”

Read more on the Peter Cukor case in Berkeleyside’s coverage.

DeWitt had been in and out of mental institutions before the killing, which happened on Feb. 18, 2012. … Continue reading »

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Cukor family settles lawsuit against Berkeley police

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The family of Peter Cukor, who was allegedly killed by a mentally disturbed man in February 2012 while he waited for police to come to his house, has dropped its lawsuit against Berkeley in exchange for promises to change the questions dispatchers ask those calling during an emergency.

Berkeley has not admitted any fault in connection with the tragedy, said R. Lewis Van Blois, who represents Cukor’s widow, Andrea, and her adult sons Alexander and Christopher.

“The changes will result in better communication between the Communication Center and the emergency caller regarding police response to calls,” said Van Blois. … Continue reading »

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Family of murder victim Cukor files suit against Berkeley

Peter and Andrea Cukor. Photo: Matthew Sumner
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The family of Peter Cukor, killed by a mentally disturbed man outside his Berkeley hills home on February 18, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the city.

R. Lewis Van Blois, the Cukor family attorney, charged in the lawsuit that the city and police acted grossly negligently in their handling of Cukor murder. At the core of the case is the issue of how seriously police took Cukor’s call and how promptly officers responded.

“Peter Cukor had called the Berkeley Police Department on their emergency number for help to request a police officer be sent to their home right away because the intruder was attempting to get inside the Cukor home and was acting strangely,” Van Blois said in a press release. “The police dispatcher promised to get someone to their home soon and the Cukors relied on this representation. In fact, the Berkeley Police Dispatcher never intended nor requested a police officer to respond and when a police officer called to say he could respond to the call, he was told not to go. Soon thereafter, the intruder attacked Peter Cukor and fatally struck him on the head with a flower pot.” … Continue reading »

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Family of murdered man files claim against Berkeley

Peter and Andrea Cukor. Photo: Matthew Sumner
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The family of Peter Cukor, killed outside his Berkeley hills home on February 18, took steps Wednesday to sue the city of Berkeley for wrongful death.

R. Lewis Van Blois, the Cukor family attorney, filed a claim against Berkeley and its police department for wrongful death and severe emotional distress. The city has 45 days to respond to the claim. After that a lawsuit can be filed.

The claim includes new details about the attack that 23-year old Daniel DeWitt allegedly made against Cukor around 8:45 pm on February 18.

Peter Cukor and his wife Andrea returned to their home at 2 Park Gate around 8:40 pm where they encountered Dewitt inside their garage, according to the claim. Cukor told Dewitt to leave, but the 23-year old responded that he lived there, he was looking for Zoey, and a psychic told him he could find her if he entered the house. Dewitt eventually left, but returned a short time later and entered a gate that led to a patio at the front of the house. Cukor told him to leave a second time. … Continue reading »

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Family of murder victim criticizes police response

The entrance to the house where Peter Cukor was attacked and killed. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Peter Cukor used his cell phone and what he had been told was an emergency number when he called Berkeley police to report that a strange man was lurking around his property, his family said at a press conference Friday.

Just about a week before Cukor was allegedly attacked and killed by 23-year old Daniel DeWitt, he received an email from a neighborhood group informing him to program 510-981-5911 into his cell phone to use during emergencies, according to R. Lewis Van Blois, an Oakland attorney representing the family. Cukor used that number at 8:45 pm on Feb. 18 to convey that he needed a police officer to help immediately, said Van Blois.

Berkeley police did not respond immediately to Cukor’s request for help because the dispatcher did not think there was a crime in progress or any threat to life. Cukor called on a non-emergency line and spoke in a calm voice, Berkeley police have repeatedly said. … Continue reading »

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Police: We responded properly to Cukor’s murder

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan:
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Berkeley police have reviewed the agency’s actions on the night Peter Cukor was murdered and do not believe they took any missteps, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said Thursday.

But media reports have created the inaccurate impression that police ignored an emergency call from Cukor because they were too busy monitoring an Occupy march.

That was the message that Chief Meehan and some of his top staff delivered to Berkeleyside on Thursday afternoon in a wide-ranging interview that lasted more than an hour. … Continue reading »

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Murder suspect was looking for fictional girlfriend

KTVU broadcast this image of Daniel Jordan Dewitt
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The mentally ill 23-year old man who is accused of killing Peter Cukor Saturday night entered into the 57-year old’s home in search of a fictional girlfriend.

Daniel Jordon DeWitt walked through a gate toward Cukor’s front door and said “he was a psychic and was told to go through the front gate to find Zoey,” according to court documents.

Zoey is DeWitt’s fictional girlfriend and does not exist, according to a family friend who asked not to be named.

DeWitt, who lives in Oakland, will return to Alameda County Court today to enter a plea. The District Attorney’s office alleges that Dewitt killed Cukor with a ceramic planter around 9 pm on February 18. … Continue reading »

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