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A 16-year-old Oakland boy was sentenced today to 25 years in state prison for murdering his adoptive parents last January. The sentence for Moses Kamin was agreed to on Dec. 10 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing his adoptive mother, 50-year-old Susan Poff, and to first-degree murder for killing 55-year-old Robert Kamin, his adoptive father, at the family’s home at 284 Athol Ave. in Oakland the night of Jan. 26, 2012. Kamin was 15 at the time but was charged and prosecuted as an adult. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner sentenced Kamin to 25 years to life for murdering his father and 15 years to life for murdering his mother but stayed the sentence for murdering his mother.
Poff and Robert Kamin both worked for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and adopted Moses Kamin when he was 6. In a videotaped interview with Oakland police that was played in court at his preliminary hearing last fall, Moses Kamin told investigators he killed his adoptive parents in a fit of anger by using a chokehold he had learned in his years of studying martial arts. He said he had been suspended from school for smoking marijuana and he didn’t want to deal with them being upset at him.
Poff’s younger brother, David Poff, told Kamin today that he “made a choice to embrace evil” when he killed his parents but said he could still change his life and “look for goodness in the world.” However, Poff said Kamin shouldn’t be paroled when he becomes eligible in 24 years because he thinks Kamin will still be a threat to society, saying, “If Moses is released and kills again, it will be a failure of justice.”
Kamin’s lawyer, Andrew Steckler, said he believes that Kamin killed his adoptive parents because they represented “an obstacle” to him reuniting with his birth mother and birth siblings and said he doesn’t think Kamin would ever kill anyone else if he were released from prison.
But prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew said Kamin had “a murderous state of mind” before he killed his adoptive parents and had written in his diary about his fantasy of killing his mother with a sharp knife and about slicing out her intestines and forcing her to eat them before she died.
Pettigrew also said there was evidence that Kamin belonged to the Norteno gang and had told someone that in order to become a full member, he had to kill someone.
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