OAKLAND -- A 16-year-old boy accused of choking his parents to death must stand trial as an adult, a judge ruled Wednesday finding that Moses Kamin understood his rights and voluntarily gave police a confession.
That confession was an integral piece of Deputy District Attorney Joe Goethals's argument that the prosecution had enough evidence to send Kamin before a jury on charges that he killed the couple who adopted him.
Had Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson ruled that Kamin's rights were violated and that police coerced him into confessing, as the teenager's attorney argued, the case would have likely been dismissed.
But Jacobson said he found no evidence showing that Kamin was unaware of his right not to speak even though the judge voiced concern about police locking the then-15-year-old in an interrogation room for almost 12 hours before they read him his rights.
"I find that at all times in this interview, (Kamin) was in control of himself and he was very, very careful in choosing what he would say," Jacobson said. "While I was concerned about the long period of time, I do not find that police engaged in misconduct."
In fact, Jacobson said, he found that Kamin appeared more prepared for the interview than the "extremely inexperienced" police officer who led the interrogation.
"He's had no formal training, he was not sophisticated here, he was the proverbial bull in the china shop," Jacobson said of Ofc. Eriberto
"It became clear to me that Moses Kamin was in control, Ofc. Perez-Angeles was not," the judge added.
Kamin is accused of killing Susan Poff, 50, and Robert Kamin, 54, at the family's home at 284 Athol Avenue on Jan. 26 using a choke hold he learned in karate school.
Kamin told police he first killed his mother after she confronted him about being suspended from school for smoking marijuana. The 200 pound, 5-foot-9 Kamin said he then waited in a dark room for his father to return from work when he surprised Robert Kamin from behind and also choked him to death.
Much of the prosecution's case in the preliminary hearing centered on the confession Kamin gave to police about 12 hours after he was arrested and many of the witnesses called were questioned about the teenager's intelligence.
Those questions revealed that Kamin had been diagnosed with a learning disorder in 2009, that he was receiving, at best, average grades in 9th grade, and that he, at times, had problems processing information.
Assistant Public Defender Drew Steckler argued throughout the hearing that the confession should not be allowed as evidence in the case because his client never understood his Miranda Rights.
But Jacobson said Kamin's reaction to questions during the interrogation and his overall appearance and actions during 2½ hours of questioning revealed that Kamin displayed a level of sophistication that proved he knew exactly what was happening.
"(Kamin displayed) a lot of depth of understanding of what is going on here," Jacobson said. "He had a full understanding." The case against Kamin will now be prepared for a jury trial and his next appearance in court is Oct. 3.