Prosecutors have charged an Oakland man suspected of carjacking in West Berkeley on Oct. 19 with the murder of an Oakland resident that same day.
Bennie Williams, 26, was arrested on suspicion of carjacking at gunpoint a 38-year-old woman’s vehicle at Sea Breeze Market and Deli in West Berkeley. Later, Oakland Police Department investigators connected the Berkeley carjacking to two carjackings in Oakland earlier that day, as well as the murder of 78-year-old Warner Willis.
OPD officers responded to a report of a stabbing about 9:16 p.m. Oct. 19 in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street in Oakland, according to an OPD press release. There, they found Willis, who had been fatally stabbed multiple times. Investigators believe Willis was killed before 4 p.m. that day.
Officers investigating two other carjackings in Oakland linked Williams to the incidents, as well as to the carjacking in West Berkeley.
After receiving a report of carjacking, which is a felony, about 4:48 p.m. and locating the stolen vehicle, Berkeley Police Department officers attempted to stop it. But the driver fled and crashed the vehicle near Ashby Avenue and Interstate 80, police said. The alleged perpetrator fled on foot, and Williams was arrested shortly after.
He was charged with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others” while evading an officer because of his alleged attempts to flee the police, according to court documents.
According to an affidavit written by OPD officer Nicholas Calonge, Williams confessed to the homicide and carjackings in an interview with police.
Williams, who was booked to Santa Rita Jail without bail, is scheduled to enter a plea Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.