The man police believe stabbed a woman to death and injured two other people on Overlook Road Saturday has been in and out of jail and on and off probation throughout his adult life, convicted of several violent and other crimes, according to jail and court records.
City police have not confirmed the identities of the suspect or any victims, but the Berkeley City Jail lists Jonah Jeremiah Roper, 36, under the same incident number Berkeley police assigned to the killing and stabbings.
Roper is also known as Jonah Ghizzoni-Roper and Jesus el Senor, according to court records. He was first sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty in 2007 to exhibiting a deadly weapon following an arrest in 2005. He was initially also charged with battery, battery on a first-responder and escape from arrest, although those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, according to court records.
He was arrested again in 2007 and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but that charge was later dismissed, according to court records. The same year, he was charged with hit-and-run, evading an officer and resisting arrest, eventually pleading no-contest just to the hit-and-run charge in exchange for a 55-day jail sentence and more probation, according to court records.
Roper was sentenced to another two years in jail after a 2010 conviction for battery on a custodial officer, according to court records.
He spent another five years on probation and was sentenced to 60 days in jail after burglarizing a car in 2012. The following year, he was convicted of burglary, robbery and battery on another custodial officer, according to court records.
On March 7, 2019, Roper flooded a holding cell at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, according to a declaration of probable cause filed by an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Roper stopped up a sink in the cell and “manipulated the sink” so that the water flowed continuously, flooding a hallway on the building’s fourth floor and a conference room on the third, causing between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of damage, according to the statement.
The district attorney’s office charged him with vandalism, but the case was dismissed “in the interest of justice,” according to court records.
On April 29, 2021, two people reported to police that Roper had exposed himself while looking at them through a window at a Tamalpais Road home, according to court records. They told officers that Roper had tried a door handle and stayed at the property for about 15 minutes and that he “had his penis out and he was touching it in a sexual manner,” according to a declaration of probable cause from Berkeley police.
The same evening, around three hours later, Roper went to an Overlook Road home near his mother’s, rang a doorbell and refused to leave, police said. As officers searched the area, Roper’s mother called police to say Roper had forced his way into her home even though “he did not have permission to be on the property,” according to the statement. When officers went to pick him up, he was wearing the same jersey that the callers from Tamalpais Road had described, and they both identified Roper as the person who had been on their property, police said.
That was at least Roper’s fifth arrest in 2021. He had previously been arrested on suspicion of domestic battery, domestic violence, prowling and, four days before, robbery, according to court records.
While at the Berkeley City Jail following the fifth 2021 arrest, Roper slapped one police officer on the back of the head and spat on another, police said. Two days after his arrest he was accused of punching a sheriff’s deputy at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He was charged with battery on a peace officer and has pleaded not guilty.
“Based on Roper’s recent arrest history, it is clear that his behavior is erratic, violent and sexually inappropriate. It also shows that the pattern of being arrested and released from custody has not deterred Roper from continuing his erratic behavior,” according to the declaration of probable cause.
More recently, Roper was arrested in August and charged with four counts of violating a court order, according to court records. He has pleaded not guilty.
BPD chased suspect across town before taking him into custody
Berkeley police first went to Overlook Road Saturday after several people reported a person with a knife in the area around 12:33 p.m., Berkeley police spokesperson Officer Jessica Perry said Saturday. One caller reported somebody had been stabbed, and another that someone had given chase down the street carrying a knife.
Officers chased the suspect across town, taking him into custody near Ninth and Gilman streets. Back at Overlook Road, one woman was found dead and another had to be hospitalized. A man who had sustained hand injuries was cleared at the scene.
Roper was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, attempted murder, child abuse, burglary, auto theft, evading police officers and causing injury to a dependent adult, according to jail records. He was being held without bail.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office had not filed formal charges as of Monday morning, according to court records.
Roper is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.
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