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Stabbing Victim Berkeley’s First Murder of Year

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 08, 2008

Berkeley logged what may be the first murder of the year when a 44-year-old man died Thursday at Highland Hospital, 12 days after he was stabbed outside an Adeline Street bar. 

Police were called at 11:19 p.m. on Dec. 22 by an employee of a market at 3198 Adeline St., after Kent Washington Evans walked into the store, bleeding from a neck wound. 

Berkeley Police Community Services Officer Steve Burcham said Evans was taken to Highland Hospital, where he underwent surgery later that night. 

Witnesses told police Evans and another man had been engaged in an altercation outside of Nick’s Lounge at 3212 Adeline St. 

The argument, which reportedly began over remarks made about the dead man’s companion, escalated into violence when Evans struck the other man, who responded moments later by pulling a folding knife and stabbing Evans in the neck. 

The assailant then got into his car before driving off with a woman. 

“We got a license plate and were able to track him down to his home in Oakland,” said Officer Burcham. 

Police arrested Roy Smith Jr., 71, at his residence and booked him into the city lockup for assault with a deadly weapon. He was later released on bail. 

With the death of Evans, the case now becomes a homicide, and even though the assault took place in 2007, the death will count as the city’s first killing of the new year, Officer Burcham said. 

Berkeley recorded five murders in 2007. 

A formal decision of whether to charge Smith with homicide will be made by the Alameda County District Attorney’s office. 

Meanwhile, an autopsy was under way Monday afternoon to determine the exact cause of death.