Amberene Grayson, 87, was a sharp and independent woman who lived alone in a house 1512 G Street, Antioch police Lt. Leonard Orman said. She often fed her nephew, Carrel Grayson, 51, and had let him stay in her house for a while, he said.
She kicked him out several months ago because he was frequently drunk and caused problems, according to Orman.
A neighbor had been letting Carrel Grayson stay in his garage, but he got too cold Friday night. He went to his aunt's house and asked if he could stay there, but she turned him away, Carrel Grayson allegedly told police.
He left, but told police he planned to come back later and break into the house, knock his aunt unconscious and stay the night, Orman said.
Police don't know exactly when Grayson returned to the home, but he allegedly cut the screen on the front door and unlocked it.
When his aunt went to the door, Carrel Grayson allegedly rushed at her and knocked her down, police said.
He told investigators that he kicked her in the head several times and tried to knock her unconscious, but wasn't able to. He then allegedly tried to strangle her, but she bit his finger, police said.
After that, Carrel Grayson allegedly went into the kitchen, grabbed an ice pick and stabbed Amberene Grayson multiple times in the back, killing her.
A friend who regularly checked on Amberene Grayson called Saturday and Carrel Grayson answered the phone. He told her that his aunt was asleep, Orman said.
The friend knew Carrel Grayson was not allowed in the house and called police, Orman said.
When police arrived, they found Carrel Grayson cooking food in the oven. There was significant blood splatter in the kitchen, where police believe the attack took place, Orman said.
"He had moved the body to a spare bedroom so she wouldn't be in the way," Orman said.
He had also allegedly washed the ice pick and retuned it to the drawer where it was kept, police said.
According to Orman, Carrel Grayson does not appear to have had a long-term plan for what he was going to do with the body, but police believe he intended to stay in his aunt's house until the murder was discovered.
Investigators reportedly conducted extensive interviews with Carrel Grayson. They believe he is an alcoholic, but doesn't appear to have any obvious mental illness.
"He clearly understood that what he did was wrong," Orman said.
"His only explanation was that he was just that angry," Orman said.
Since October 2007, Amberene Grayson had called police about 25 times. Most of the calls were regarding issues with her nephew's health, but on Nov. 24 Carrel Grayson was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and on Nov. 30 he was arrested for smashing a window to get into his aunt's house, police said.
Since 1981, Carrel Grayson has been arrested for theft, drunken driving and public intoxication in Contra Costa Solano and Napa counties, but not for any violent crimes, police said.
He has been booked into Contra Costa County jail on suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, Orman said.
Amberene Grayson is the city's seventh homicide victim this year.