Tag Archives: Homicide in Berkeley

Two years after the shooting of Pamula Mullins, Berkeley police are still looking for clues to her killing

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Cathy White has never forgotten the last phone conversation she had with her younger sister, Pamula Mullins.

It was the evening of Dec. 4, 2012. The two sisters were discussing what each would make for Christmas dinner. Mullins offered to make her “messy” salad – a salad chock full of things other than lettuce – and White was gently trying to talk her out of it. Unbeknownst to Mullins, no-one in the family really liked her salad, but they were too polite to tell her that directly.

After a good laugh — the two sisters were very close — Mullins said she had to get off the phone to go to the store.

That was the last time White talked to her sister. … Continue reading »

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Crime

San Leandro man to face murder, gang charges after 2013 Berkeley killing

Photo: Krishna Ferreira, via Facebook
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A 24-year-old San Leandro man has been ordered by a judge to face charges in the murder case against him for a fatal shooting in Berkeley last year.

According to evidence presented by authorities this month in the case against Krishna Ferreira, the victim had been a member of the West Side Berkeley gang who had fallen out of favor with his comrades — and been “green lit” for punishment — when he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while he was incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in 2012.

The victim, 24-year-old Dustin Bynum of Berkeley, was shot to death outside Bing’s Liquors in West Berkeley in August 2013.

This month, beginning Nov. 4, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara considered the case against Ferreira to determine whether the district attorney’s office had enough evidence against him for the prosecution to move forward to trial. The preliminary hearing — where authorities present their evidence and the defense has a chance to question it — ended Tuesday afternoon with a ruling from Nakahara in favor of the prosecution.

Berkeley Police Officer Stephanie Polizziani — an area coordinator, former jailer and one of the department’s two gang experts — testified over the past week that Ferreira is an active member of the West Side Berkeley gang, which is affiliated with, and answers to, the Norteño prison gang. According to Polizziani, the Norteños have handed down orders to its affiliates to “take care of their trash” — in reference to former gang members who had been “jumped out” or dropped out of active gang activities.

Polizziani said Bynum — who was known as “phatboy” on the streets — fell into this category after he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while locked up at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in 2012. Three members of the gang attacked him, and “jumped him out” of the gang. He was then removed from the housing area where other Norteños are incarcerated and moved into an area where those seeking protective custody or who are cooperating with law enforcement are placed. He was also, according to Polizziani, put on the gang’s “bad news list,” or BNL. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police search South Berkeley after Seabreeze homicide

A search warrant operation in South Berkeley woke many residents early Thursday. Photo: A citizen reporter
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Authorities conducted a warrant search in South Berkeley early Thursday that was connected to a fatal shooting last week at the Seabreeze Market.

The Berkeley Police Department put out a notice Thursday evening about the operation after receiving “several inquiries” from community members about the disturbance.

According to the statement, the operation — which had been organized and carried out by the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department — took place in the 1500 block of Harmon Street early Thursday morning.

The Seabreeze is in Berkeley but is located within Park District boundaries near University Avenue and Interstate 80, en route to the Berkeley marina. Last week’s fatal shooting took place Tuesday, Oct. 28 shortly before 8 p.m.

According to a local resident who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, Thursday’s operation began shortly before 5 a.m.

“It started with 4 flash bangs in succession … then a slight pause, then one more flash bang,” he wrote, adding that he was “woken up by the noise.” (A video of those flash bangs follows.) … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man killed near Seabreeze market in West Berkeley

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market
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Update: Oct. 31: East Bay Regional Park District police identified the man shot and killed Tuesday night as 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas of Stockton.

Investigators are looking for information on cars that might have been on the scene of the Tuesday shooting, according to a press release. They want information on a white Ford or Chevy style pick-up truck, extended cab, possibly a side step model. Investigators are also looking for a man spotted in the vicinity, described as a heavyset black male in his late 20s to early 30s.

Update Oct. 30: Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the EBRPD police said that video taken at the scene indicated the victim knew his assailants. “It appeared based on the interaction that prior to the event they knew each other.” Davis said it looked like there were three people at the scene at the time of the shooting. The victim was shot multiple times. Police have not yet released his name.

Original story: A man in his 20s was shot and killed Tuesday night in the parking lot of a market near the Berkeley Marina, according to East Bay Regional Park District police.

Berkeley police received a call around 8 p.m, that there had been some sort of disturbance at the Seabreeze Market, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and West Frontage Road. They arrived to find a man, whose identity was not released, lying on the ground. EBRPD police arrived as well. … Continue reading »

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Crime

1 held, 1 freed in Berkeley hatchet homicide

The man police believe was Berkeley's first homicide victim of 2014 lived in this building on Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A judge has freed a woman arrested after the killing of a Berkeley man in February, but ruled Thursday that her boyfriend must face the murder charge against him in the case.

Late Thursday afternoon, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon said enough evidence had been presented for 29-year-old Michael Diggs to continue to face prosecution in the Feb. 28 homicide of Sylvan Fuselier in his West Berkeley home.

A woman police said was Diggs’ accomplice in the case, 41-year-old , will not be prosecuted, and is set to be released from custody. She has been incarcerated without bail since March 31. Her attorney, James Giller, said her involvement amounted to “pure speculation,” and the judge ultimately agreed to drop the murder charge against her.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Exclusive: Alleged killer says sexual advances toward girlfriend prompted Berkeley homicide

The man police believe was Berkeley's first homicide victim of 2014 lived in this building on Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Michael Diggs, the homeless man charged with killing a 54-year-old Berkeley man with a hatchet in late February, told police he snapped after the victim walked naked into the bathroom where Diggs’ girlfriend was showering, then tried to force her to have sex with him.

Police arrested 29-year-old Diggs in early April in connection with the killing of Sylvan Fuselier in Berkeley more than a month before. Police also arrested 41-year-old , Diggs’ girlfriend, in the case. Authorities charged both with the Feb. 22 murder of Fuselier.

The couple has appeared in court this week before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon, who will determine whether there is enough evidence against them for the case to proceed to trial.

Read full Berkeleyside coverage of the case.

During a lengthy interview after his arrest by Berkeley Police, Diggs confessed to killing Fuselier after the older man began acting strange and became insistent about having sex with Sessoms, who repeatedly refused his advances, according to a transcript of Diggs’ confession. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Cousins take manslaughter plea in Berkeley shooting

A small memorial was set up in West Berkeley near the site of Zontee Jones' death earlier this year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The case against two cousins charged with shooting to death a man in Berkeley last year resolved Wednesday with a manslaughter plea, the same week the case was set to begin trial.

Maurice Thomas Jr. and Jevon Calland, both 22, had been charged with killing 34-year-old Zontee Jones in Berkeley in February 2013 during a confrontation on Delaware Street not far from San Pablo Avenue.

The men pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing, and are scheduled to return to court for sentencing Jan. 5.

Thomas — whom authorities say fired the fatal shots — faces 21 years in prison. Calland faces 16 years. Conflicting evidence has, however, been presented in previous court hearings that casts some doubt on exactly what happened. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Breaking: Case dismissed in Jermaine Davis homicide

Jermaine Davis, via YouTube.
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Charges have been dropped in the case against a Pittsburg man accused of shooting a 26-year-old Berkeley man to death last summer.

Wednesday at 10 a.m., an Alameda County Superior Court judge agreed to drop the charges against 26-year-old Antiown “Twanny” York, and said he could go home.

York had been arrested by Berkeley police in January, and later charged with murder, in connection with the killing of Jermaine “Third” Davis in July 2013.

Prosecutor Autrey James, of the Alameda County district attorney’s office, asked the judge Wednesday morning to dismiss the case against York. James told the judge his office had been unable to locate a material witness in the case, and believed that witness to be outside the area. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley teen, recent grad, shot to death in Oakland

Ayana Dominguez (right) at a Berkeley Youth Alternatives Graduation program on June 6, 2014. Jamee Harris, her counselor, is on the left. Photo: Berkeley Youth Alternatives
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Ayana Dominguez, an aspiring hairstylist and 18-year-old recent graduate of Berkeley Technical Academy, was gunned down last week in a Wendy’s restaurant parking lot in Oakland, according to police.

Officers responded Thursday, July 10, to reports of gunshots in the Fruitvale district of East Oakland at 8:45 p.m. When they got to Wendy’s, at 3111 International Blvd., they found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He refused an offer by police to take him to the hospital and went instead with a friend. He was Dominguez’s 22-year-old boyfriend, according to the Oakland Tribune. 

Police learned that a Berkeley teenager also had been shot and was taken to the hospital by friends. She later died of her wounds. Police identified her as Dominguez.

On Monday, friends and business associates of Dominguez were reeling from the news. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley woman to push for stiffer outcomes in justice system after brutal stabbing murder of daughter

Jessica Kingeter
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The Berkeley man convicted in the murder of a young woman he had met only hours earlier, in December 2012, is now facing 25 years to life in prison.

A jury found 36-year-old Jamaal Anthony Prince guilty of first-degree murder just before noon Thursday in the slashing and stabbing death of Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter on Dec. 28, 2012.

Prince is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. in Department 10 before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon R. Rolefson. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Jury deliberations begin in killing of Berkeley woman

Jennifer "Jessica" Kingeter would have been 28 on Jan. 15, 2014. Photo: Rebecca Tolman
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Update, July 10, 12:06 p.m.: Just before noon, the jury returned a first-degree murder verdict, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office. A sentencing date has not been set.

Original story, July 9: The man accused of brutally stabbing and slashing to death a young Berkeley woman just after Christmas in 2012 called his mother around the time of the fatal struggle, she said Wednesday.

“He said, ‘Mama, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,'” said Jacqueline M. Stewart outside an Oakland courtroom Wednesday afternoon, as the jury began its deliberations about the murder charge her 36-year-old son, Jamaal Prince, is facing. The trial began July 2.

Stewart said her son — who was born and raised in Berkeley, and had worked as a security chief at a Berkeley cannabis club on San Pablo Avenue before his arrest — then hung up. She began calling his friends to try to find him: “I knew something was wrong.”

Authorities said, in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2012, Prince stabbed to death 26-year-old Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter, a hairstylist and Laney College student, who grew up performing as a ballet dancer at the Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley.

The defense attorney and prosecutor, who made their closing arguments Wednesday before lunch, have both asked the jury to come back with a guilty verdict.

Defense attorney Al Thews argued for a voluntary manslaughter conviction, and said Prince believed he was defending himself from Kingeter during the “terrible fight in that bathroom between the two of them.” He said Prince had followed Kingeter into a bathroom, expecting to have sex — to which Kingeter had not agreed — and that she had then stabbed him with a knife. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Trial begins in stabbing death of Berkeley woman

Jennifer "Jessica" Kingeter would have been 28 on Jan. 15, 2014. Photo: Rebecca Tolman
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The trial of a Berkeley man accused of stabbing to death a 26-year-old woman in late 2012 began Wednesday morning in Oakland Superior Court.

Wednesday afternoon, a key witness for the prosecution failed to appear, and Judge Jon Rolefson issued a warrant for his arrest. If Julius Johnson cannot be found, the prosecution plans to read his testimony from an earlier hearing into the record for consideration by jurors.

In brief opening statements, attorneys for both sides said they believe Jamaal Prince, 36, killed Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter of Berkeley in the bathroom of an Oakland apartment in December 2012.

But, while Alameda County deputy district attorney Danielle Hilton told the jury Prince brutally attacked Kingeter after she refused to have sex with him, defense attorney Al Thews said Prince was high on cocaine and alcohol, and believed he was defending himself after Kingeter stabbed him in the leg. … Continue reading »

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Crime

‘Not guilty’ pleas entered in Berkeley hatchet killing

The man police believe was Berkeley's first homicide victim of 2014 lived in this building on Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley couple accused of stabbing a West Berkeley man to death with a hatchet earlier this year entered not guilty pleas in court Monday.

Kneitawnye Trishawn Sessoms, 41, and Michael Diggs, 28, were charged with killing 54-year-old Sylvan Fuselier in February in his home in the 1100 block of Addison Street.

According to court papers, police found Fuselier deceased at noon on Feb. 28 after being called to do a welfare check. He appeared to have been stabbed with several sharp instruments. … Continue reading »

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