Woman suffered arterial bleeding from neck wounds in murder attempt, affidavit says

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A Richmond teen was charged with attempted murder and attempted carjacking Tuesday in connection with a case that left an elderly woman with life-threatening injuries Friday.

A witness was walking in the area of Otis and Russell streets in South Berkeley late Friday afternoon when she saw the unconscious victim lying on the ground and bleeding from her face, according to an affidavit written by Berkeley Police Department Sgt. Peter Hong. The witness also saw a suspect in the driver’s seat of the car adjacent to the victim, attempting to start it.

The charges against Kamau Berlin, 18, were heightened because the victim was elderly and suffered great bodily injury, according to court documents. Charges were also enhanced because a deadly weapon — a knife — was allegedly used during the alleged carjacking and murder attempts.

Nancy McClellan, 72, suffered arterial bleeding from two puncture wounds to her neck. The witness walking in the area told police that after the car would not start, the suspect got out of the vehicle, picked up the victim and placed her in the backseat of the car, according to the affidavit. The vehicle belonged to McClellan.

The witness also told police that the suspect said he was trying to help the victim, according to the affidavit. McClellan, who had then regained consciousness, told the witness, “He’s not helping me,” which prompted the witness to walk up the street and call 911.

When officers arrived on scene, the suspect fled west on foot, going into residential yards and onto rooftops, the affidavit said. About a block later, an officer detained Berlin on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. He had blood stains on his face, shirt and pants, according to the affidavit.

Two witnesses tentatively identified Berlin as the suspect at the woman’s vehicle, police said.

According to the affidavit and county inmate records, Berlin was arrested about an hour after the initial call to the police department. He is being held without bail in Santa Rita Jail.

In a press release issued Monday, police said the victim was still in critical condition at a local hospital.

Kimberly Veklerov is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @KVeklerov.