An ex-convict was convicted of first-degree murder today for the stabbing death of a 26-year-old Berkeley woman at an East Oakland apartment complex in 2012.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a full day before delivering its verdict against 36-year-old Jamaal Prince of Berkeley in the death of Jennifer Kingeter, who was found stabbed to death in an apartment at 5800 Walnut St. in Oakland at about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2012.
Prosecutor Danielle Hilton said Prince brutally attacked Kingeter, a hairstylist and Laney College student, because she refused to have sex with him.
But Prince’s lawyer, Al Thews, told jurors in his closing argument on Wednesday that they should only find Prince guilty of manslaughter because he had an honest but unreasonable belief that he was acting in self-defense.
Thews said he believes that Prince stabbed Kingeter only after she stabbed him first and left him with a six-inch stab wound in his leg.
But Hilton said she believes that Prince instigated the confrontation and stabbed her multiple times because “he was trying to rape her and she wouldn’t give in.”
Kingeter suffered six stab wounds and more than 100 shallow but long incisions, Hilton said.
In an interview with Oakland police that was played during his trial, Prince said, “She attacked me.
Prince said, “She was going to kill me or I was going to kill her. That’s what I thought.”
He said, “I did what I had to do. I had no choice.”
After Prince was convicted today, Thews said, “I respect the verdict of the jury but I disagree with it.”
Hilton said, “I’m happy that Jennifer’s family will have some closure now and can start to heal and I’m happy that Mr. Prince won’t be able to hurt more people.”
Prince’s sentencing date hasn’t been set yet because there will be a hearing later today on whether the prosecution has proven its allegation that he has five prior felony convictions, which could add to his state prison term.
He already faces 26 years to life for his conviction for first-degree murder and for the use of a knife.
Prosecutors allege that Prince’s prior convictions are for assault by means to produce great bodily injury in August 2010, vandalism causing more than $400 in damage in June 2008, possession of a firearm by a felon in January 1999, grand theft from a person in September 1996 and leaving the scene of an accident in which someone was seriously injured in January 2008.
All of Prince’s alleged previous crimes occurred in Alameda County except for the leaving the scene of an accident incident, which occurred in Stanislaus County.
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