A Livermore man was charged with murder today for allegedly stabbing to death another man in a road rage incident on Wednesday. Cort Holbrook, a 41-year-old software engineer, was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Pleasanton and is scheduled to return to court next Friday to finalize his legal representation and possibly enter a plea. According to a probable cause statement by Livermore Detective Marco Esquivel that was filed in court, Holbrook admitted that he stabbed victim Ricky Ziesmer, a 48-year-old Fremont man, with a dagger. The men had been engaged in a confrontation in a parking lot on Old First Street in downtown Livermore near John’s Char Burger and the Livermore Cyclery at about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. But Holbrook alleged that Ziesmer had started the incident by drifting into his lane several times and nearly colliding with him before punching him several times when they got out of their cars and started arguing, Esquivel said.
Holbrook did not flee from the scene of the confrontation but instead called Livermore police and said he had been involved in a road rage incident, according to the statement. However, Esquivel said Holbrook, who was driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, had “ample opportunities” to avoid further conflict with Ziesmer, who was driving a gold Chevrolet Cavalier, after they encountered each other on the road but that Holbrook had chosen not to do so. According to Esquivel’s statement, Holbrook said he changed lanes and drove past Ziesmer to avoid any collisions with him after they first encountered each other while driving on First Street. Holbrook told investigators that when the two men were stopped in adjacent lanes at a light, he “flipped off” Ziesmer and asked him “why he was driving like a d—.” According to the statement, Holbrook said the two men cursed at each other, and Ziesmer threatened to harm him and said, “I have no problem putting you down.” The two men eventually pulled into the downtown parking lot, Esquivel said. He said that “instead of sitting in his vehicle, rolling up his windows, locking the doors or driving away, Holbrook chose to get out of the vehicle” and wound up in a confrontation with Ziesmer. Ziesmer punched Holbrook in the face twice, knocking him to the ground, according to Esquivel’s statement. As the confrontation continued, Holbrook reached into his driver’s door compartment, retrieved a dagger and eventually stabbed Ziesmer in the upper chest and also stabbed the driver’s side rear door of Ziesmer’s car to prevent him from leaving, Esquivel said. However, Ziesmer was able to get away and drove himself to Valley Memorial Hospital in Livermore, according to the report.
Ziesmer was conscious and able to speak when Officer Rich Zogaric and Detective John Reynolds contacted him in the hospital’s rear parking lot, Esquivel said. But when they asked Ziesmer what had happened, he didn’t answer their question but instead said, “Hurry, I don’t want to die,” according to the report. Ziesmer was subsequently transported to the trauma center at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley, where he succumbed to his injuries at about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
Before Ziesmer died, Holbrook was initially booked for assault with a deadly weapon. Esquivel said that when he later told Holbrook that Ziesmer had died, “Holbrook shook his head side to side as though he could not believe.” He said, “Holbrook maintained his position stating that he stabbed Ziesmer in self-defense.” Esquivel said Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Infante and Inspector Jim Taranto, who joined him in interviewing Holbrook after Ziesmer died, agreed with his decision to place Holbrook under arrest for the murder of Ziesmer. Holbrook is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without
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