Trial for 2008 Stabbing Continues With Prosecution's Final Witnesses

Photo: Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield
Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield

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OAKLAND-The murder trial for the 2008 fatal stabbing of a UC Berkeley student continued Tuesday as two of the prosecution's final witnesses testified before the jury, which will decide whether the stabbing was murder or an act of self-defense.

Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield stands accused of first-degree murder for stabbing UC Berkeley senior Christopher Wootton in the UC Berkeley Chi Omega sorority parking lot the early morning of May 3, 2008.

Deputy District Attorney Connie Campbell of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office played an audio interview with Christopher Willcox-a friend of Hoeft-Edenfield present the night of the stabbing-recorded when Willcox was taken in for questioning.

In the interview, Willcox told Berkeley Police Department Detective Emily Murphy he did not see Hoeft-Edenfield involved in the confrontation and described the scene as a "drunken brawl on frat row" between people who knew each other.

Still, Willcox told Murphy on the tape that even if Hoeft-Edenfield-whom he referred to as his "best friend"-had been involved in the fight, Willcox would not have told Murphy. But later in the interview, Willcox qualified this statement.

"If (Hoeft-Edenfield) had hurt someone like that, I wouldn't be supporting him," he said.

Willcox said he grabbed his friend Adam Russell, who was in the middle of the group arguing in the parking lot, and left with him and Russell's girlfriend. Police later found the three running at Durant and College avenues and took them in for questioning.

According to Berkeley Police Department Detective Todd Sabins' testimony, the officer who drove Willcox back to his residence after questioning found Hoeft-Edenfield there. When Sabins arrived at the residence, he said Hoeft-Edenfield-who was in only boxers-told him the rest of his clothing was in the washing machine because it was full of blood.

Campbell presented a piece of paper with a rap verse on it from a notebook in Hoeft-Edenfield's backpack found at the residence.

"I'm quick too cut a snitch/and leave his body in a Ditch," it read.

Campbell played a recording of a phone conversation Hoeft-Edenfield had with his father once in custody, in which he denied stabbing anybody. Hoeft-Edenfield said he waved his knife around and said "back the fuck up," but he was jumped and the knife was kicked out of his hand.

But in a subsequent phone conversation with his mother played before the jury, Hoeft-Edenfield admitted to stabbing somebody unintentionally in self-defense.

Murphy said that when given photos of six males for identification the day of the stabbing, Zachary James, a member of Wootton's fraternity, Sigma Pi, positively identified Hoeft-Edenfield as one of those who initiated the brawl.

"He was definitely one of the two guys who was trying to instigate a fight with me and my friend," James said in a written statement from the identification interview read at the trial.

Murphy also said she was present at Wootton's autopsy and that the doctor checked to see if there were bruises on Wootton's knuckles by looking for hemorrhaging under his skin. She added that there was no evidence of such hemorrhaging but said the doctor noted that the impact of the knife broke one of Wootton's ribs and punctured his heart.

The trial continues Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Rene C. Davidson Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, when the defense is scheduled to begin bringing forth its witnesses.


Contact Kim Bielak at [email protected]

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