Murder Charges Against Alameda Man in Berkeley Slaying

Daniel Dewitt, 23, had been mentally ill, in and out of hospitals since he was 18.


Bay City News Service — An Alameda man was charged with murder today for allegedly killing a Berkeley hills homeowner with a flowerpot on Saturday night, according to court documents.

Daniel Jordan Dewitt, 23, is scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court on the charge that he killed 67-year-old Peter Cukor outside Cukor's home at 2 Park Gate Road at about 9 p.m. Saturday.

Dewitt is the grandson of the late former Alameda city councilman, vice mayor, 
and interim Alameda Mayor Al DeWitt. His mother, Candy Dewitt, said he became mentally ill after he turned 18, but that she was never able to get him into a permanent treatment program.

"He would be taken to the hospital and given treatment for a few days at a time and then be put back out on the streets again," Dewitt said.

Candy Dewitt said her son graduated from Alameda High School in 2007 and played on the school's football team.

She said, "He was a good kid and was very well-liked by his teachers and other students."

Dewitt said that because the mental health system neglected her son, "They have now made victims of two more people," referring to the homicide victim and her son.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Berkeley police Detective David Marble, Cukor, who owned a logistics consulting firm, called police at 8:45 p.m. Saturday to report that there was a suspicious person in his garage.

Marble said in the statement that the person, later identified as Dewitt, left the property after Cukor told him to, but that Cukor and his wife, Andrea Cukor, later saw Dewitt enter their front gate, which leads to their front door.

Peter Cukor again told Dewitt to get off of his property and Dewitt "said he was a psychic and he was told to go through the front gate to find Zoey," Marble wrote.

Dewitt then left the property again and Cukor walked across the street to the fire station there, "probably to ask for assistance from the firefighters to help deal with Dewitt," according to Marble.

However, no one was there because firefighters were out on a call.

Marble said that when Cukor returned to his property, Dewitt "confronted" him in his driveway and "viscously assaulted" Cukor, hitting him in the head.

The charge filed against Dewitt alleges that he used a ceramic planter to kill Cukor.

Andrea Cukor witnessed part of the assault and called 911, according to Marble. Peter Cukor was then taken to a hospital, where he died.

Berkeley police officers who responded to the scene saw a person nearby who matched the suspect's description and arrested Dewitt, who had fresh blood on his hands, sweatshirt, pants and shoes, Marble said.

In addition, the knuckles on Dewitt's right hand appeared to be swollen and Andrea Cukor identified him as the person who had assaulted her husband, according to Marble.

After he was arrested, Dewitt admitted that he was on the Cukors' property and had looked through their windows, Marble said.

Dewitt described the interior of the Cukors' house and "admitted that he was looking for his fiancee Zoey," Marble wrote.

The detective said he believes that DNA testing will prove that the blood on Dewitt's clothing will match the blood of Peter Cukor.


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