‘I’mma kill him,’ murder defendant accused of killing uncle says in video
OAKLAND » Murder defendant Trevaughn Soriano had his uncle in a chokehold, looking back at the two women who were pulling at each other’s hair.
‘I’mma kill him, I’mma kill him,” he repeated, in the video shown to the jury this week.
Soriano, 26, is accused of killing his uncle, Trevino Thomas, 48, outside a restaurant in the 2700 block of 64th Avenue on May 17, 2017. During his trial this week, Soriano testified on his own behalf, and admitted to putting his uncle in a chokehold and that he told his girlfriend’ s mother to let go of her hair, or he would kill Thomas.
Soriano’s pregnant girlfriend, D’Onicka Hal, was in a tussle with hermother, KiaBlacksher, whowas dating Thomas, Soriano’s uncle. The two women were not on good terms, and when Blacksher saw her daughter in the parking of the restaurant moments after the two coupleshad seen each other inside, there was a confrontation.
But Soriano claims he tried to break the two woman apart, and then his uncle attacked him frombehind.
“I thought I was being attacked because I tired to stop an attack onmy child’s mother,” Soriano testified.
He maintains that his No. 1 one concern was his girlfriend, who was six months pregnant and carrying their unborn son. Hal, who also testified this week, denies that she swung at hermother first or faced off with her, as hermother had testified earlier.
What happened next is not under dispute: Soriano got on top of Thomas’ back, his 340-pound uncle lying belly- down on the ground, while Soriano held him in a chokehold. The confrontation was caught on camera by a dash camera of a man who happened to be driving by. It shows Soriano pulling at the man’s neck, at one point switching arms and looking back at the two women, saying things like, “I’mnot playin,” and “I’mma kill him.”
ProsecutorMalisha Jones, in her closing arguments Wednesday, called the attack “vicious” and “outrageous.” She is asked the jury to return a guilty verdict on second-degree murder.
“He yanks that man up so hard he goes limp,” Jones said, describing the video.
After getting off of his uncle, Soriano told his girlfriend to record his uncle on the ground, wiht a cellphone camera. She did. Then, he went to get his food that he had ordered at the restaurant.
“He said ‘ I’mma kill him’ and then he did it. That is cold … and then he left him there, his mother’s brother, dead,” Jones said.
Soriano left the scene on foot, but eventually turned himself into Oakland police. He testified that he did go check on his uncle, and did some chest compressions on him.
His defense attorney Paul Feuerwerker argued in his closing statements Thursday that there is clearly evidence of “heat of passion” that would not qualify the act as second- degree mur- der. Feuerwerker said that if his client had the intent to killhis uncle, hewouldhave fled the scene immediately.
“There’s absolutely nothing about his conduct after that makes this murder, as opposed to manslaughter,” he said.
He said there was heat of passion, no malice and evidence to even support im- perfect self-defense because hewas trying to protect his girlfriend.
He asked the jury to return a not guilty verdict on murder, and to “decide from there” related to voluntary manslaughter.
The jury was expected to begin deliberations after closing arguments on Thursday.