A Sacramento ex-convict who shot and killed a Rohnert Park man prosecutors believe was trying to rob a prostitute was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison.
Berry Adams, 33, was found guilty of being a felon with a gun in the April 22, 2011, killing of Kevin “Ziggy” Craft, 20, at the Best Western Inn on Redwood Drive.
Early on, prosecutors ruled out bringing murder charges against Adams, a suspected pimp with a long criminal history. Evidence showed Adams acted in self-defense when Craft pulled a gun on him and the woman, said Bill Brockley, chief deputy district attorney.
Speaking before more than a dozen of Craft's friends and family members gathered for the sentencing, Adams said it came down to a choice of kill or be killed.
“If I didn't have possession of a firearm it would have been two dead bodies instead of one,” said Adams, clad in a blue jail uniform.
Adams chafed at criticism from Craft's family members who suggested he acted cruelly by leaving Craft to bleed to death in the hotel parking lot.
“He's dead and I'm the bad person,” Adams said.
Adams' comments followed emotional pleas from Craft's family. His sister, Camille Craft, told Adams her brother's “blood will always be on your hands.” The father, Curtis Craft, called Adams a “sex trafficker.”
Curtis Craft said he supported the charges because “25 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.”
In handing down his punishment, Judge Dana Simonds focused on Adams' past, which included five felony convictions and a two-year prison stint for a 2002 San Francisco burglary.
She said the killing showed planning and a conscious disregard for human life but acknowledged Craft provoked the shooting with his own actions.
“The pimping circumstances underlying this case are not something I can ignore,” she said.
According to a Probation Department report, Craft responded to a Craigslist posting for sex and met a prostitute at the hotel. Adams listened to the two over a cellphone left on in the room.
After Craft had sex, he pulled a gun and tried to rob the prostitute. She screamed and Adams bolted in with his own gun.
The two faced each other for a moment, each man urging the other to drop his gun. At one point, Craft pulled his trigger but the gun misfired. Then Adams shot him once in the chest.
Adams and the prostitute grabbed Craft's gun and fled. They later told police they tossed both weapons over a bridge.
Adams was arrested six months later in Las Vegas after authorities received an anonymous tip. Prosecutors dropped a pimping charge as part of a pre-trial plea agreement.
He was sentenced to six years for being a felon with a gun and one year for his prior prison strike.