72-Year-Old California Woman Dies After Being Stabbed During Carjacking

| by Dominic Kelly

A 72-year-old California woman was stabbed last month during a carjacking, and tragically, she has died as a result of her injuries.

Nancy Jo McClellan of Emeryville passed away early Wednesday morning after being in the ICU for weeks following the stabbing. The day before her death, the 72-year-old’s family transferred her to a care facility and made the decision to take her off life support.

Kamu Berlin, 18, was already arrested and charged for the stabbing, but now, police are seeking murder charges. Reports say that a witness saw McClellan lying on the ground near her car bleeding from her face and calling for help. Berlin was attempting to start the car when the witness came over, and he reached down to try and put McClellan into the vehicle, saying that he was “just trying to help her.”

McClellan, who had been stabbed twice in the throat by Berlin, told the witness that he wasn’t helping her. Berlin was able to flee the scene as a second witness came over to help, but the following day, after a heated chase, police were finally able to apprehend him.

Friends of McClellan say that she spent the last 15-20 years of her life as a gardener at the Berkeley Zen Center and described her as a pleasant and creative person.

“She was an original in many ways, kind of quirky but constantly creative,” said the Zen Center’s vice abbot Alan Senauke. “My personal feeling is that to some degree she was probably targeted as an older woman who had a car that somebody was interested in. It’s terribly shocking and it was a horrible, brutal crime.”

Berlin is currently being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail.

Sources: Berkeleyside, SFGate