Berkeley Mother Sentenced For Murdering Her Son, 9

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday April 15, 2008

Posted Wed., April 16—A Berkeley woman who admitted murdering her 9-year-old son will spend at least eight years in prison under terms of a plea bargain announced Wednesday. 

Misti Mina Hassan had acknowledged killing her son, Amir, a student at Emerson Elementary School at the time his death on Oct. 10. 

Police learned of the death after Hassan called a friend in San Jose to say that her son was dead and she had been injured. 

The friend called San Jose Police, who in turn notified officers in Berkeley, who found Hassan and the body of her son in their apartment at 3011 Shattuck Ave. 

Hassan was suffering superficial self-inflicted wounds to her wrists and neck when police found her. 

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Venus Johnson said Hassan had agreed to the plea bargain, which was approved by Superior County Judge Edward Sarkisian, Jr. last Friday. 

Johnson said Amir Hassan died of multiple drug toxicity, but declined to identify which drugs were involved, except to note that they did not include Klonopin, the powerful anti-convulsant medication Misti Hassan had told her friend that she had used to kill her son, along with an antidepressant. 

Hassan had initially pleaded no guilty to the murder, but withdrew her plea before agreeing to the sentence handed down, which was to serve at least 85 percent of an 11-year sentence. 

She made no effort to enter a plea based on mental impairment, Johnson said. 

The youth’s death had sent shockwaves through his classmates at school and through the South Berkeley neighborhood where he was well-known to local merchants, whom he often assisted in their chores.