Man charged with 2 murders in Berkeley deaths

November 17, 2009 7:47:07 PM PST
There was a heart-breaking confirmation Tuesday for an Oakland family about a murdered mother and child; they now know for certain that Zoelina Williams and her young son Jashon were killed over the weekend.

Curtis Martin III was charged Tuesday with killing 17-month-old Jashon and authorities believe he killed Jashon's mother Zoelina because she may have witnessed Jashon's murder.

Williams' family left an Oakland courtroom in tears after hearing what they had suspected all along -- the toddler's body found floating over the weekend in the Berkeley Marina appears to be Jashon's.

Martin is charged with killing the 17-month-old and beating and shooting his mother Zoelina to death on Friday at Berkeley's Aquatic Park.

Authorities also charged Martin with intentionally murdering Zoelina because she was a witness to a crime.

"We're gonna fight this till the end, all of us, her whole family, is gonna fight this til the end," Williams' cousin Novella Ellis said.

While Williams' family wants to see martin behind bars, another family is wondering why he was ever let out in the first place.

"It's so unfair that this family has to experience this when they didn't have to, had the judicial system done its job," Patricia Reynolds said.

Martin beat Reynolds' 3-year-old grandnephew Devin Brewer to death 15 years ago. Martin briefly dated the boy's mom; when her family saw bruises and cigarettes on her, they tried to intervene. Martin cut a plea deal for the murder and served just six years.

"We were trying to find out what was going on, well the next week Devin was dead, we just didn't respond fast enough," Reynolds said.

Last year Martin was arrested twice for violating a restraining order against another girlfriend. In court documents the woman called him dangerous and disturbed, she said he choked and beat her and threatened her teenage son.

The woman pleaded with a judge to keep Martin away from her, just as Brewer's family unsuccessfully pleaded with a judge to keep Martin locked up.

"That's what I'm trying to find out,how could they let him go this man killed a child, how could they let him go," Brewer's uncle Orlando Williams said.

ABC7 tried to contact the District Attorney's office, but they did not return repeated requests for interviews.

The coroner is still trying to determine the official identification of the toddler found over the weekend, but police say the race and size match Jashon's description.

Martin is being held without bail. He could face the death penalty if convicted.


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