2 charged with murder of Berkeley resident

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Update 3/31/15: The murder charge against Kneitawnye Sessoms was dropped

Two individuals were charged with murder Wednesday in connection with the February killing of 54-year-old Berkeley resident Sylvan Fuselier.

Michael Diggs, a 28-year-old male Berkeley resident, and Kneitawnye Sessoms, a 40-year-old female Berkeley resident, are in custody and remain Berkeley Police Department’s only suspects, according to a Wednesday press release.

Just before noon on Feb. 28, BPD received a call for a welfare check request from a friend of Fuselier who had not seen him in several days. Police officers responded to 1121 Addison Street — a four-unit apartment near the intersection of San Pablo and University avenues — and discovered Fuselier dead. Further investigation at the scene determined his death to be a homicide case, the city’s first this year.

BPD arrested the two individuals Tuesday but did not release booking photographs, manner of death or the suspects’ relationship to the victim in order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fuselier’s death was caused by stabbing.

In the month since police discovered the homicide, investigators conducted interviews and examined evidence, at one point offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any suspect or suspects. Homicide detectives developed information that implicated Diggs and Sessoms, police said.

Fuselier was once suspected to be the notorious “Noteman bandit” who allegedly robbed East Bay businesses two decades ago, according to the Chronicle. The suspect’s name stemmed from his use of demand notes, which asked shopkeepers to turn over their cash. The suspect was not known for using handguns during such incidents. Police arrested Fuselier in connection with a string of Berkeley and Oakland robberies in 1996.

Diggs and Sessoms were booked to the Santa Rita Jail and Berkeley Jail, respectively, each without bail. Diggs has been held in custody since March 12 in the same jail for a parole violation. Their arraignments were scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. in Oakland’s Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse.

Kimberly Veklerov is the lead crime reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @KVeklerov.