Jessica Kingeter, left, with cousin Cindy Burgos. The Berkeley woman killed last Friday in an East Oakland apartment complex loved cooking, ballet dancing and styling hair, family members said. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos
Jessica Kingeter, left, with cousin Cindy Burgos. Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Burgos

The five-time felon charged in the stabbing death of Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter was found at the scene of her killing naked and covered in blood with a knife nearby, according to authorities.

Last week, police arrested Jamaal Prince, 34, of Berkeley in Kingeter’s death. He was charged Monday, Dec. 31, with murder, and is set to appear in court to enter a plea this coming Monday.

According to court documents, police found Prince “at the scene of a homicide naked, covered in blood in close proximity to a bloody knife.” Police said Prince was treated at Highland Hospital for several cuts to his hands, and was then “cleared for incarceration.”

Police said, in the declaration of probable cause for Prince’s arrest, that he waived his rights during the police interview, and “confessed to stabbing the victim multiple times.”

According to Oakland Police Department Sgt. Christopher Bolton, police received a call to an apartment complex at 5800 Walnut St. in East Oakland at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28.

The call, reporting that a man had been stabbed on Walnut, was transfered to police from the Oakland Fire Department’s dispatch center, he said.

When police arrived, they found Prince, who had wounds on his hands. They also found Kingeter, who was unresponsive and suffering from apparent stab wounds in a nearby apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police earlier told the Oakland Tribune that Kingeter and Prince were acquaintances, and that her body was found in an apartment belonging to a friend of Prince’s. (Family members have said Kingeter did not know Prince previously.)

According to the Tribune: Police “said Prince and Kingeter were acquaintances but he did not know how long they had known each other. The stabbing ended a dispute the two had had, but police would not say what it was over.”

Bolton said Friday that he was unable to confirm that level of detail both because that information was not readily available, and also to protect the on-going nature of the investigation.

Prior convictions didn’t count as strikes

Jamaal Prince, via Facebook
Jamaal Prince, via Facebook

Many community members have wondered how it was that a five-time felon, convicted in 2010 of an attack on his mother causing great bodily injury, would already have been released from prison.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Prince was released on Sept. 1 after being sentenced to five years and eight months in prison in November 2010. Prince served his sentence, and received “day for day” credit for time served, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the department. That means, essentially, that he received a day of credit for every day of good behavior while he was incarcerated.

The length of the sentence is based on state law, said Sessa, and credit is given both to encourage inmates to behave and to make prison safer for inmates and staff.

“That’s not the same as being released early,” he said. “It’s being released according to the way the statute tells us to administer the sentence. It depends on the crime and it depends on when someone was convicted. Sentencing laws change all the time.”

According to the Alameda County district attorney’s office, none of Prince’s prior felony convictions were serious enough, under the state criminal code, to count toward the state’s “three strikes” law, which can result in a sentence of 25 years to life for people convicted of three or more serious offenses.

Assistant district attorney Micheal O’Connor said specific crimes are defined by law as “serious” or “violent,” and Prince’s prior convictions did not fall into these categories.

“We don’t charge ‘three strikes’ lightly in Alameda County,” said O’Connor. “But if it was eligible, as in a murder, we would definitely charge it.”

Prince’s most recent conviction, in 2010, was for an assault likely to cause great bodily injury; but the assault did not count as a strike, said O’Connor, because it involved just force, and not what is defined as a deadly weapon.

His last conviction

According to a 2010 news report during Prince’s trial in that case, authorities said Prince tried to choke his mother, Jacqueline Stewart, while he was “high on drugs” and ranting to himself. In a 911 call recorded during the incident “Prince can be heard telling his mother that she is going to die and Stewart is heard screaming for help,” according to a 2010 Oakland Tribune article.

According to the story, Prince’s mother gave a similar version of the attack to police initially, but later “recanted her statement and downplayed the events” after she learned her son had been charged with three felonies that could send him to prison for nine years.

According to a man who identified himself as Kingeter’s father in a comment on Berkeleyside, the Alameda County coroner’s office released the young woman’s body to her family on Friday.

Five-time felon charged with murder of Berkeley woman [01.03.13]

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...