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A judge today ruled that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have an Oakland teenager ordered to stand trial on charges that he murdered his adoptive parents in January. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson denied a defense motion which sought to have Moses Kamin’s videotaped confession that he killed his adoptive parents on the ground that he didn’t knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waive his right to a lawyer. In an interview with Oakland police Officer Eriberto Perez-Angeles and Sgt. Rachel Van Sloten on Jan. 28, Kamin, who was 15 at the time and is now 16, said he strangled Susan Poff, 50, and Robert Kamin, 55, the night of Jan. 26 in a fit of anger after he was suspended from school for smoking marijuana because he didn’t want to deal with their frustrations with him.
Poff and Robert Kamin, who both worked for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and adopted Moses Kamin when he was six years old, were found dead in a PT Cruiser parked outside their home at 284 Athol Ave. in Oakland about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 27. Robert Kamin had worked with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department since 1994, providing mental health services to inmates, as well as working as a psychologist at Haight Ashbury Free Clinics-Walden House. Susan Poff had worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Housing and Urban Health Clinic since 2004 as a physician assistant. Although Jacobson ruled that Kamin’s confession is admissible as evidence, he criticized Oakland police for holding the teen in a small, windowless room for 12 hours before they interviewed him and for using overly-aggressive tactics in questioning him.
Kamin’s lawyer, Andrew Steckler, said, “I respectfully disagree with the judge’s ruling about the admissibility of Moses’ statement and I will appeal it” before the case goes to trial. Kamin is being prosecuted as an adult. In his statement to police, Kamin said used a chokehold he had learned in his many years of studying martial arts to strangle his parents. Steckler said, “This crime fits a tragic pattern if Moses’ statement to police is true because he wouldn’t be the first adoptive child to murder his parents.” Steckler said children who kill their adoptive parents often feel abandoned by their birth parents and have a sense of trauma and loss. He said he believes that’s the case with Kamin because once he became an adolescent he became “obsessed” with learning more about his birth family, which included a younger brother and sister who he hasn’t seen since he was three years old. Kamin told police in his videotaped interrogation that he had traumatic memories of his early childhood, including when he was four years old and his foster parents locked him in a dark room for three days without food. Steckler said that when Kamin’s case goes to trial he will argue that Kamin suffers from dissociative disorders and other conditions.
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