A homeless man was charged on Friday with murdering a California father who stabbed his neck when his 5-year-old daughter was sitting in a crowded steakhouse on the beach.
Jamal Jackson, 49, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was detained on a $ 1.5 million bail in Ventura Prison. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer who speaks for him.
Mele and his wife dined Wednesday with their daughter at the Aloha Steakhouse in Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father's lap when the prosecution said Jackson had gotten up and pushed Mele on the back.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said that guests and restaurant staff followed Jackson out of the restaurant, although he still had the knife. They kept an eye on him until the police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to hospital and died on Thursday after being released from life.
"It's terrible," said Simon. "You do not think you'll be killed if you eat with your family in a nice restaurant and did nothing." [1
"He just sat there with his daughter in his lap," said Simon. "Thou shalt not die like that."
Mele's relatives began a GoFundMe page to collect money for a funeral and to assist his wife and daughter.
Mele's Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager in an AT & T business.
His killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff to monitor surveillance cameras, among other measures.
"We are extremely disheartened and angry about this criminal attack," said Mayor Neal Andrews in a statement. "We will not tolerate this in our community, nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses."
Jackson is sentenced to 55 years in prison after conviction.