Tag Archives: Homicide in Berkeley
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 »
The Alameda County district attorney’s office on Friday charged 18-year-old Kamau Berlin with murder in the stabbing death of 72-year-old Nancy McClellan in South Berkeley in September.
Berlin — a B-Tech student — also has been charged with attempted rape, attempted robbery and attempted carjacking, as well as elder abuse resulting in death.
He appeared in court Friday morning, as did about half a dozen family members and supporters, and had been scheduled to enter a plea in the case.
Berlin’s plea was postponed until Jan. 9 due to the addition of significant charges in the case.
His family declined to comment to the media Friday morning.
Also in attendance were about nine of McClellan’s supporters from the Berkeley Zen Center. McClellan was mortally stabbed Sept. 19 after leaving a wedding at the center, near Russell and Otis streets. … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »