Teen charged in stabbing of 72-year-old woman

A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook
A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook

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.


“He’s not helping me,” the woman told the witness, and continued to ask for assistance.

The witness walked away and called 911.

A second witness heard a woman screaming for help, and looked outside to see a young man making “punching motions” into the rear passenger area of the parked Honda.

When officers arrived, they found Berlin on Otis south of Russell. He fled into residential yards, going westbound and onto rooftops, police said.

In the meantime, another officer performed CPR on the woman until paramedics arrived.

An officer was able to detain Berlin on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near Otis.

“Berlin had blood stains on his face and on the front of his shirt and pants,” according to court papers.


Both witnesses identified Berlin as the person they saw near the Honda.

The 72-year-old woman who had been attacked — stabbed twice in the throat with a knife, severing her carotid artery — was taken to Highland Hospital for treatment. She remained in the ICU as of Tuesday.

According to police, Berlin made “incriminating admissions” to the crime during jail phone calls.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Berlin with attempted murder, including enhancements for the use of the knife, committing a violent crime on the elderly, and inflicting great bodily injury.

Berlin also was charged with attempted carjacking with a deadly weapon.

If convicted, he is eligible to be sent to prison.


Berlin is scheduled to enter a plea Oct. 6. A family member told a reporter for the Oakland Tribune on Wednesday morning that the teenager is from Berkeley, not Richmond.

Related:
Emeryville woman dies weeks after Berkeley stabbing (10.08.14)
18-year-old arrested in stabbing of 72-year-old woman (09.22.14)
Breaking: Berkeley police arrest suspect in homicide attempt of woman in 70s (09.19.14)
Berkeley assault leaves man in critical condition (08.29.14)
Woman stabbed on AC Transit bus: ‘What did I do that made you want to murder me?’ (08.15.14)
Man uses skateboard to interrupt stabbing on bus (08.13.14)
Man arrested after attempted Berkeley homicide with bat following frat house fight (04.28.14)

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