Click photo to enlarge
Susan Poff (KGO-TV)

At 200 pounds, Moses Alfredo Kamin outweighed each of his parents by about 50 pounds and, with a black belt in martial arts, had been professionally trained on how to use his body to overpower people.

Shortly after the sun set Thursday, the 15-year-old was at home alone with his mother, Susan Poff, a 50-year-old woman who worked with poor people as a physician's assistant in a city-run clinic in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Nobody but the teen knows what happened in the house by Lake Merritt that night. But the boy and his mother fought, likely about his recent suspension from school, and police say he used his bare hands to strangle her.

Police said he hauled her 150-pound body into a darkened room while he waited for his father, Robert Kamin, a 55-year-old psychologist in the San Francisco jails, to return home. When Robert Kamin got home about 7 p.m., the boy attacked him from behind and strangled him to death, police said.

The teen then waited until the early hours of Friday morning, between 3 and 6, to haul the bodies, one by one, out of the house in the 200 block of Athol Avenue and into the family's red Chrysler PT Cruiser, police said. He covered their bodies with blankets, police said, and several hours later tried, unsuccessfully, to set the car's gas tank on fire.

It was the scorch marks on the car that eventually led police to the bodies and later to the boy, who has admitted to killing his parents. They adopted him in 2002.


Advertisement

Police arrested him Saturday morning after he gave a detailed confession to investigators.

Now the boy sits in Alameda County Juvenile Hall in San Leandro, charged by the District Attorney's Office on Tuesday with two counts of murder. Moses Alfredo Kamin, who will be prosecuted as an adult, was arraigned Tuesday morning and will be back in court Wednesday to enter a plea and learn if he is eligible for a public defender.

Authorities said the youth was vague about the motive for the killings. But there had been growing tension about his poor conduct in school, authorities said, and those tensions intensified after he was suspended twice within a month from the downtown Oakland charter school he attended. The fear of possibly being disciplined over the second suspension may have been the catalyst for the killings, said Officer Phong Tran, the lead investigator.

Authorities said in November he ran away from home and spent time with Occupy Oakland protesters, both at 14th Street and Broadway and in Snow Park. Sources said the youth may have also burglarized the family house and stolen a family car when he ran away. It was not clear when he returned home, but tension apparently continued. He was suspended from school Jan. 25.

Police were led to the bodies after a co-worker of Robert Kamin's asked police to check on him about 3:30 p.m. Friday because he did not show up to work. Officers went to the house and spoke to the teen, who said his parents were out. Officers did not find anything out of the ordinary and left.

But co-workers became more concerned, particularly after getting evasive answers from the boy over the phone, and asked police to check again. It was before police arrived the second time that the youth unsuccessfully tried to burn the car, police said. Officers saw the scorch marks on the car and then saw a foot sticking out from under one of the blankets and made the discovery inside the locked vehicle after breaking a window to gain entry.