Mark Edward Jekabson. Photo: BPD

The woman who was stabbed repeatedly by her son at their North Berkeley home last week was asleep in bed when the attack woke her up, according to charging documents released this week.

The 76-year-old woman “was suddenly awakened by her son, Mark Jekabson, plunging a knife into her upper chest,” police wrote. The woman told police her son stabbed her more than 20 times “in an ‘unrelenting’ and ‘deliberate’ attack meant to kill her.”

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Jekabson on Monday with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Sept. 4 stabbing on Edith Street that began around 2:45 a.m.

According to court documents, the woman sustained life-threatening injuries, and needed surgery and a blood transfusion, after she “fought to get away” from her son, receiving defensive wounds to her hand and wrist in the process. Jekabson was gone when police arrived, having jumped off a second-floor balcony. He reportedly left a trail of blood over several blocks, and dumped a bloody backpack, when he ran. Police arrested him in Pinole two days later.

Police described the weapon used in the stabbing as a 12-inch kitchen knife with a 7-inch blade. They found it in the woman’s bed, which was soaked in blood.

“The knife was bloodied, the blade was bent and the tip was broken off,” police wrote, from the force of the attack.

The woman told police her son has a diagnosed mental illness and was not taking his medication, according to court documents.

Jekabson grew up in Berkeley and was a top student throughout his education in Berkeley schools. He was known for his ability to pick up languages easily and his high intelligence. He ran track and was incredibly good at math, one friend recalled.

Jekabson was considered one of the best artists at Berkeley High, particularly for his intricate hand drawings. He won admittance to Pratt Institute, a prestigious New York City art school. But he left school before graduating when his mental illness struck.

Jekabson remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. He is being held without bail and is set for a procedural pretrial hearing Oct. 31, according to county jail records online.

In addition to the felony counts, Jekabson was charged with two special allegations, which trigger increased penalties: that he used a knife in the attack, and caused great bodily injury. The crime is listed in charging papers as a violent felony, which would require a prison term if Jekabson is convicted.

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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...