BERKELEY (CBS SF) – An Alameda man was arraigned Wednesday on a murder charge for allegedly killing a homeowner in the Berkeley hills on Saturday night.

Daniel Jordan Dewitt, 23, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday to see if the Public Defender’s Office will represent him on the charge that he killed 67-year-old Peter Cukor outside Cukor’s home at 2 Park Gate Road around 9 p.m. Saturday.

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Dewitt is the grandson of the late former Alameda city councilman and interim Alameda Mayor Al Dewitt, who died in 2003. Daniel Dewitt’s father, Al Dewitt Jr., said outside court Wednesday that Dewitt has suffered from mental illness since the age of 18.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

Al Dewitt Jr. said he and his wife, Candy Dewitt, have been trying to get their son into a permanent treatment program or have him held in custody but court officials always released him after he received brief periods of treatment.

“We always had a fear of him hurting himself or someone else,” Dewitt said.

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 a Berkeley fire station that’s located 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 “viciously assaulted” Cukor, hitting him in the head.

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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.

Al Dewitt Jr. said his son doesn’t have a girlfriend named “Zoey” and that Zoey is only a figment of his imagination.

“Zoey is a fictitious girlfriend that he’s had for about a year now,” Dewitt said.

Dewitt said his son “has been in and out of the system many times” but he didn’t specify if he meant his son has been in jail or in mental institutions.

A spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said Daniel Dewitt was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of making annoying phone calls in 2010 to a woman who was a former classmate and he has a pending misdemeanor battery case for allegedly punching and kicking a nurse at the John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro in 2010.

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