Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay said Carl Raybon Jr., 45, "took a hammer to a woman who was helping him" when he killed 54-year-old Patricia Ann Brackins on Aug. 1, 2006.
In addition to convicting Raybon of murder, jurors convicted him of using a weapon, namely a hammer, to kill Brackins and of stealing her car. According to Oakland police, Brackins, who taught adult school classes and pre-school children, met Raybon early in 2006 when he did some carpentry work for her at her house on Ritchie Street in Oakland and their relationship eventually became more intimate.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jason Chin said that after Brackins and Raybon had been together for a few months he told her he was addicted to cocaine but she tried to help him with his problem and bailed him out of trouble several times.
But Chin said they got into an argument on Aug. 1, 2006.
The prosecutor said Raybon gave several different statements to police and on the witness stand but he generally said the argument began after Brackins told him he was irresponsible when he told her he wanted to go out and get high.
Chin said Raybon alleged that Brackins grabbed a hammer in her house and told him "he would have to go through her to get out of the house" but jurors ultimately didn't believe that Raybon acted in self-defense.
Chin said Raybon admitted that he struck Brackins with the hammer twice and then put a plastic bag over her head.
Raybon then stole Brackins' car and went on a cocaine binge, Chin said.
San Pablo police arrested Raybon on Aug. 3, 2006, for driving under the influence after he drove "like a maniac" and crashed into a utility pole, Chin said.
But after police cited Raybon they let him go because Brackins' body hadn't been discovered yet, according to Chin.
Brackins was found on Aug. 4, 2006, by a neighbor who became concerned after not seeing her for several days.
San Francisco police checking complaints of narcotics trafficking at a hotel in the Mission District arrested him at a room there on Aug. 23, 2006.
Clay said Raybon "took her (Brackins') car and her money and was doing drugs in San Francisco."
Brackins' daughter said in a letter she submitted to the court that the call from the coroner's office telling her about Brackins' death "turned my life upside down" and her life seems empty without her mother, especially during the holidays.
The daughter, who asked that her name not be used, said Raybon, who smiled and chatted with his attorney after he was sentenced today, "is the epitome of a cold-hearted killer" and never showed any remorse or apologized for her mother's death.
Raybon's attorney, Lindsay Horstman, asked Clay to only sentence Raybon to 26 years to life in prison, saying that Raybon's 1998 conviction in Georgia for a residential burglary he committed on Dec. 9, 1997, shouldn't be considered a "strike" under California law and he therefore shouldn't have his sentence doubled.
Horstman said that's because the police report about the Georgia incident doesn't clearly prove that the house from which Raybon stole a shotgun and other items was occupied at the time.
But Clay said the police report makes it clear to him that "somebody lived there" during the burglary and it's appropriate to double Raybon's sentence.
Clay said, "I may be wrong, but then the state Court of Appeal can reverse me. I think the police report is sufficient to establish that people lived there."