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Suspect Is Charged With Murdering 78-Year-Old Man In Crime Spree

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A 26-year-old man was charged today with special circumstances murder for allegedly fatally stabbing a 78-year-old man in West Oakland on Sunday at the beginning of a crime spree that included three carjackings.

Bennie Deshawn Williams is accused of killing Warner Willis at Willis' home in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street sometime before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oakland police said. Willis was found dead inside his home at about 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, police said.

In addition to murder, Williams is charged with the special circumstances of committing a murder during a robbery and burglary for Willis' death.

Oakland police said they believe Williams carjacked a vehicle in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street outside Willis' home shortly after Willis was killed and then carjacking a second vehicle a few miles away a short time later.

Berkeley police said Williams then carjacked a third vehicle at gunpoint at the SeaBreeze Market at West Frontage and University Avenue in Berkeley at about 4:45 p.m. on Sunday.

After a car chase Williams crashed near Ashby Avenue and Interstate Highway 80 and tried to run away but was arrested, Berkeley police said.

Oakland police Officer Nick Calonge said in a probable cause statement that some of the items that police believe Williams stole were found in the car that he crashed in Berkeley.

Williams is charged with three counts of carjacking, attempted second-degree robbery, evading an officer with willful disregard for public safety and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury for attacking an officer while he was being booked in the Berkeley jail, authorities said.

Calonge said that when Oakland police interviewed Williams he "provided a full confession to the homicide as well as each of the subsequent three carjackings."

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge and the two Oakland carjacking counts in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland this afternoon.

He was arraigned earlier this week on the counts that stem from the Berkeley incidents.


Oakland police (510) 238-7230

Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats (510) 981-5780
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