During the morning of April 13, 1996, Wanjiko Hardin ingested cocaine. While riding as a passenger in his cousin Eric Davis’s car, Hardin became involved in a physical altercation with Davis. After rear-ending a car, Davis drove to a residential intersection in Berkeley, where he and Hardin continued to struggle.
Hardin ran into the home of 79-year-old Lucille Levingston, who had been standing on her porch. A few minutes later, the police arrived, knocked on the door, and announced themselves. Hardin responded by threatening to kill Levingston. Straddling Levingston, he hit her repeatedly on her head and upper torso with a claw hammer.
Police entered the home and tackled Hardin, who yelled, ‘they’re trying to kill me; I gotta kill ’em.’ After wrestling the hammer from Hardin, the police handcuffed him. As he was escorted to the patrol car, Hardin yelled, ‘they’re trying to kill me’; ‘I hate all of you’; ‘I hate all cops’; and ‘Oakland police brutality.’
The officers and responding paramedics believed that he was under the influence of cocaine or another stimulant. Levingston died two weeks later from complications of the attack. Hardin did not deny that Ms. Levingston died at his hands.
The defense argued that Hardin was guilty of manslaughter, not murder. Hardin testified that he had ingested cocaine and feared people were after him.
Three medical doctors testified that Hardin experienced a cocaine-induced psychosis that day.
The defense argued that Hardin’s ingestion of cocaine rendered him psychotic and unconscious at the time of the murder and that he acted in imperfect self-defense.
Is Hardin guilty of Murder or Manslaughter? Scroll down……
Wanjiko Hardin was convicted by a jury of second degree murder of a victim over 60 years of age with personal use of a deadly weapon (Pen. Code, §§ 187, 1203.09, subd. (a), 12022, subd. (b)). After admitting two prior convictions for drug-related felonies, defendant was sentenced to state prison for a total term of 17 years to life.
The California Appellate Court affirmed his conviction on December 18, 2000.