Tag Archives: Homicide in Berkeley
On Russell Street a tree is blooming. Tibetan prayer flags are strung across its branches in a rainbow of color. White paper tags that flutter, holding messages of hope and healing, are its blossoms. Looking closer, one might notice laminated photographs and Buddhist passages hanging from the boughs, bouquets of flowers at its base.
The tree stands outside the Berkeley Zen Center, a Buddhist meditation group whose roots date back decades in South Berkeley. The memorial was created to honor Nancy McClellan, the zen center’s head gardener, who was mortally stabbed after leaving a wedding at the center in mid-September. McClellan died in October after being removed from life support when she failed to recover from the injuries she sustained the sunny Friday afternoon she was attacked less than a block from her beloved garden at the zen center.
Having just lost a friend to illness, McClellan spent much of the wedding telling those around her that she loved them, friends recalled.
Friday, Oct. 24, the 18-year-old man who has been charged with trying to kill 72-year-old McClellan after a failed carjacking is set to enter a plea in that case. Kamau Berlin of Richmond — a student at nearby B-Tech — has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with attempted murder and attempted carjacking. Berkeley police said, after McClellan’s death, the charge would likely be upgraded to murder.
Sunday, the Berkeley Zen Center held a memorial for McClellan to allow for “final goodbyes” from members of the meditation community, as well as others who knew McClellan.
This month, close friends of McClellan who live around the Bay Area have grappled with their grief, particularly as some thought at first she might recover from the brutal attack.
“I’ve had a hard time getting her out of my mind these last few weeks,” said Karl Anderson, a Castro Valley man who knew McClellan for more than two decades. “She probably looked like an easy target but, in fact, she must have fought back and that was what happened, knowing her. I can imagine she’d say, ‘Oh, no you don’t.’ She would not give in.”
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 Kneitawnye Sessoms, 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 »
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 Kneitawnye Sessoms, 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.
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 »
On Sept. 19, a 72-year-old woman was brutally stabbed in front of the Berkeley Zen Center in South Berkeley in a botched carjacking. For several days she lay in the hospital sedated and unresponsive, with irreparable brain damage. Because of this, her family decided to take her off life support. Two-and-a-half weeks after the attack, she died.
A 72-year-old woman who was stabbed in South Berkeley in September has died after nearly three weeks in medical care, according to authorities.
Nancy Jo McClellan of Emeryville died Wednesday at approximately 2:30 a.m., said Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood.
McClellan remained in the ICU following the stabbing, and died in a Berkeley care facility where she had been transferred Tuesday, according to police. Over the weekend, her family had decided to take her off life support when she failed to recover from the attack, according to community members familiar with the case.
“Our investigators are in touch with the district attorney’s office,” Greenwood said Wednesday morning. “We will do what we need to do to get more charges.”
Berlin was arrested by police the day of the stabbing, Sept. 19. He has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with attempted murder. He is a Berkeley Unified School District student, according to BUSD spokesman Mark Coplan.
Police say Berlin tried to steal McClellan’s Honda, then stabbed her twice in the throat when the car wouldn’t start. The assault took place at approximately 4:30 p.m. at Otis and Russell streets, not far from the Ashby BART station.
McClellan was head gardener at the Berkeley Zen Center at 1929 Russell St., adjacent to where she was attacked. Sojun Mel Weitsman, who runs the center, said there had been a wedding and reception that day, which McClellan had attended. She was on her way home when the confrontation took place. … Continue reading »
An 18-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder in the stabbing in South Berkeley last week that left a 72-year-old woman with critical injuries.
Police say Kamau Jawhar Berlin, of Richmond, tried to steal the woman’s Honda on Friday, then stabbed her twice in the throat when the car wouldn’t start. The assault took place at 4:30 p.m. at Otis and Russell streets, not far from the Ashby BART station.
According to court papers, a witness said she was walking by the car and saw a woman on the ground and bleeding from the face. A man was trying to start the Honda, but was unsuccessful.
The woman asked the witness for help, and the man picked her up and put her into the back of the car. He told the witness he was “just trying to help her,” according to police. … Continue reading »
Update, Jan. 5, 2015, 12:30 p.m. Cousins Maurice Thomas Jr. and Jevon Calland were sentenced Monday, Jan. 5, in connection with the killing of 34-year-old Zontee Jones in February 2013. As had been previously agreed to, Thomas received 21 years and Calland received 16, said Thomas’ defense attorney Ernesto Castillo.
Original story, Sept. 24, 2:54 p.m. 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 »
A teenager from Richmond was arrested after a stabbing in Berkeley on Friday afternoon that left a 72-year-old woman in critical condition.
The woman remained in a local hospital for treatment as of Monday, according to a police statement released just after 2 p.m.
Friday, police arrested 18-year-old Kamau Berlin near the scene of the attack, but his name was not released until Monday.
Police were called to the intersection of Russell and Otis streets at 4:30 p.m. Friday for a report of a disturbance, according to a prepared statement from police. Police were told a woman was yelling for help. … Continue reading »
A woman in her 70s was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after an assault by a man who was arrested by police Friday, authorities said.
Police were called to the intersection of Russell and Otis streets at 4:30 p.m. for a report of a disturbance, according to a prepared statement released by police.
Police were told a woman was yelling for help. They arrived within minutes and saw a man flee on foot who matched the description provided by callers. … Continue reading »
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.
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 »
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 »
Berkeley woman to push for stiffer outcomes in justice system after brutal stabbing murder of daughter
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.
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 »
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 »