Latest Headlines

‘The devil made me do it’: Oakland barbecue fatal shooting happened out of the blue, with no apparent motive, witnesses say


OAKLAND — An Oakland man accused of killing an acquaintance at a barbecue with friends gave no warning, had no conflict with the victim, and offered no coherent motive other than saying something about influence from “the devil,” according to witness testimony.

Jason Arias, 21, is accused of murdering 25-year-old Jesus Henriquez-Martinez at a barbecue on 26th Avenue in Oakland on July 20, 2020. Witnesses at his July preliminary hearing testified that Arias and Henriquez-Martinez had just come back from a trip to the store for alcohol and a cigar wrap with a third person when Arias inexplicably pulled out a pistol and shot Henriquez-Martinez.

Arias’ then-girlfriend testified at the hearing that she confronted Arias about the shooting hours later, before his arrest, and that he had a blank look and appeared to be “in shock.” She testified he said something about being “touched by the devil” or that “the devil made me do it.” Later, during police questioning, she said Arias told her that he believed the devil sent three people to hurt him and that Henriquez-Martinez was one of them, according to court records.

According to multiple witnesses, Arias — who was 19 at the time of the shooting — barely knew Henriquez-Martinez and met him through a mutual friend who was hosting the barbecue. He didn’t appear intoxicated, distressed, or even angry in the moments leading up to the shooting, the witnesses said.

Arias has pleaded not guilty and appeared in court this week briefly. His next appearance has been set for January, court records show.

READ MORE:  Ask Amy: I got kicked out of meditation group for mentioning the moon

At the preliminary hearing, Deputy Public Defender Palden Ukyab argued on technical grounds, claiming that prosecutors failed to establish that the victim — who eyewitnesses referred to by the nickname “Chuy” — was the same person who a police detective referred to when he testified about Henriquez-Martinez’s autopsy.

Judge Andrew Steckler did not respond to Ukyab’s arguments, and instead simply ruled prosecutors had established enough to move the case forward. He held Arias to answer on the murder charge. A trial date has not yet been set.

Related Articles

Back to top button