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Jurors hear closing arguments in Oakland strangulation trial

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An Alameda County prosecutor told jurors on Wednesday that a 26-year-old man should be convicted of murder for the strangulation death of his uncle outside an Oakland restaurant in 2017 because she believes he intentionally killed him.

In her closing argument in the trial of Trevaughn Soriano, which has been marked by tensions between his family and the family of the victim, prosecutor Malisha Jones alleged Soriano said, “I’m going to kill him” several times before he strangled 48-year-old Trevino Thomas.

Jones alleged that Soriano was “cold-hearted” and bragged about killing Thomas afterward.

Thomas was killed outside Lena’s Soul Food Cafe in the 2700 block of 64th Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. on May 17, 2017.

Jones said the background to the strangulation was that Soriano’s pregnant girlfriend, D’Onicka Hal, and her mother, Kia Blacksher, who was Thomas’ girlfriend, got into an argument with her over money when all four of them ran into each other at the restaurant that night.

Jones said Hal and Blacksher had been close but “the relationship fell apart” because of money issues. Jones also alleged that Blacksher “had a problem with Soriano because she didn’t think he was good enough for her (Hal).”

Jones said Soriano’s girlfriend and her mother got into a fight outside that restaurant and Soriano and Thomas also got involved in the fracas. Soriano testified on Tuesday that, “My concern was stopping her (Blacksher) from continuing to attack her (Hal)” and “I got in between the two ladies.”

Soriano said Blacksher “betrayed her daughter and grandson” by getting into a fight with Hal.

Soriano also said:

“I felt my uncle (Thomas) had betrayed me by stopping me from protecting my fiancee and unborn grandson.”

Jones alleged that Soriano didn’t act rashly when he strangled Thomas because it took him 74 seconds to choke and kill him.

Jones said:

“He (Soriano) had a long time to think about it. He didn’t act rashly.”

Jones said that after Soriano killed Thomas he and Hal went back to the restaurant to pick up the food they had ordered before the confrontation.

Jones said:

“The food they ordered was more important than his (Soriano’s) uncle Thomas.”

Soriano’s attorney Paul Feuerwerker will present his closing argument on Thursday.

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