A convicted felon was sentenced today to 22 years in state prison for fatally shooting a 30-year-old college student and father in East Oakland three years ago. Demara Hatch, 37, was convicted in November of voluntary manslaughter for the death of Jay Hansen, a San Francisco State University student who was the father of three children, during an argument outside an apartment in the 2800 block of Nicol Avenue in the early morning hours of May 25, 2014, after a long night of smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and going to nightclubs with two women.
Prosecutor Jimmie Wilson asked jurors to convict Hatch of murder and said today that doesn’t agree with their verdict in the case. Wilson and defense attorney Bonnie Narby agreed in their closing arguments in Hatch’s trial that he fatally shot Hansen but disagreed about whether it was a murder or an accident or self-defense.
Before he was sentenced today, Hatch admitted that he “made a bad choice” by carrying a gun that night because he was legally barred from having a gun because of his three prior felony convictions for aggravated battery, burglary and possession of a controlled substance.
But Hatch said he decided to carry a gun because, “I didn’t feel safe” because he’d nearly been killed in two unprovoked stabbing attacks in San Francisco in the months prior to the shooting. Hatch, who was dressed in a yellow jail uniform, said, “I didn’t intend to kill him (Hansen) but he said he pulled out his gun because they got into an argument and he thought Hansen might have been armed with a gun.
“I’m not a monster,” Hatch said. The reason for the confrontation between Hansen and Hatch wasn’t made clear during Hatch’s trial but Narby said she believes Hansen flew into a rage because he wasn’t allowed into the nightclubs the group went to that night and one of the women in their group didn’t talk to him the way he thought women should talk to him. Narby said Hatch then came to the woman’s defense.
Wilson said he believed Hatch should have been convicted of murder for being the aggressor in his argument with Hansen, who he said was unarmed. But Narby said Hatch pulled out his gun because Hansen “was in a blind rage” since he thought one of the women in their group had insulted him “and was screaming at the top of his lungs that he’d shoot” her.
Narby said Hatch didn’t intend to shoot Hansen but said Hatch’s .357 Magnum went off accidentally after Hansen charged at him when the group returned to Hansen’s apartment at the end of the evening. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner said he imposed the maximum sentence possible against Hatch, given that he was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder, because Hansen “was particularly vulnerable because he was fleeing from Mr. Hatch in an attempt to get into his residence and was shot in the back even though he was unarmed.
” Erin Hansen, one of Hansen’s sisters, said she believes Hatch should have been convicted of murder instead of manslaughter and said, “My heart will always be broken” because of her brother’s death.” Pam Hansen, Hansen’s mother, said in a letter that was read aloud in court, “My family has been robbed and the world has been stripped of a loving individual who contributed enormously to the world.
” Hansen said her son was working to assist troubled youth and wanted to continue such work. Alicia Hansen, another sister, told Hatch, “You stole my brother but you didn’t steal his spirit.” Narby said that while Hatch has been in custody he’s worked hard to turn his life around and has written two books, one for children and one aimed at helping fellow inmates better express their feelings toward their families.
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