Man Charged With Murder Following Deaths of Woman and Child

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OAKLAND--Curtis Martin III of Oakland was charged yesterday with two counts of murder and special circumstances, which, if convicted, could result in the death penalty or a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Martin was arrested Friday by Oakland police working with Berkeley Police Department Homicide detectives after being suspected of killing 23-year-old Oakland resident Zoelina Williams, whose body was found early Friday morning in Berkeley's Aquatic Park.

Martin was charged with murder in the Alameda County Superior Court due to his alleged connection with the death of Williams and her 17-month-old son Jashon Williams, whose body is believed by investigators to be that of a child who was found dead near the Berkeley Marina Sunday.

In addition to the two counts of murder, Martin was charged with special circumstances for multiple murders and killing a witness to a crime. Investigators believe Zoelina Williams was killed because she had knowledge of her son's death, police said.

Family and friends packed the courtroom to hear the charges brought against Martin. Some wept after hearing Martin be charged with murder in connection with the death of Jashon Williams, who had previously been reported missing.

"It's hard for us to deal with her death, and on top of it now we have to deal with (Jashon's death)," said Novella Ellis, Zoelina Williams's cousin. "It's just horrible."

Elois Windmon, aunt of Zoelina Williams, in the midst of tears, said she believes Martin should get the death penalty.

"He needs the chair," Windmon said. "He needs to go straight to the chair."

Police said the Alameda County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Bureau has not yet confirmed the child's body found is that of Jashon Williams, but noted that the body fits the child's race, gender and size.

The recent charges do not mark the first time Martin has been accused of violence.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Martin was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 1994 fatal beating of 3-year-old Devin Brewer, the son of his girlfriend at the time. Martin was sentenced to 11 years but was released earlier.

Members of Brewer's family also attended court Tuesday in support of Williams' family.

"If justice would have been served (in) 1994 ... there wouldn't have been another life taken," said Anthony Hall, Brewer's second cousin. "Justice really has to get served this time."

In September 2008, a female Oakland resident was granted a restraining order against Martin. According to court documents, Martin had hit, choked and stomped on the woman in December 2007, hospitalizing her.

Though the woman contacted police after the incident, according to documents, she gave investigators a different name for fear of being further attacked, and charges against Martin were not made.

According to the documents, Martin also threatened violence against the woman's son.

"In the past, he stated if my son was of age he would hurt him," said the woman in the documents.

Martin was referred to the public defender of Alameda County and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

He is currently being held without possibility of bail at the Santa Rita Jail.


Contact Michael Garcia at [email protected]

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