OAKLAND — A man who was tied to a fatal shooting by a poem allegedly found inside his tent has accepted a plea deal that will result in a nine-year prison term, court records show.
James Mallett, 44, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 40-year-old Antonio Diaz. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced on Sept. 25.
Diaz was shot and killed April 21, 2020 on the 1300 block of 83rd Avenue in Oakland at a homeless encampment where Mallett lived, police said. Weeks earlier, Mallett was seen on surveillance video stabbing Diaz repeatedly in another part of the city, but at the hospital Diaz told police he wouldn’t cooperate with attempts to prosecute Mallett for attempted murder, according to court records.
After the shooting, police searched Mallett’s tent and discovered a firearm, along with a poem that contained a line that Mallett would “literally die by the hands of police bcuz killin him only meant that I killed me,” according to court records. Police testified there was also a line indicating that Diaz had pulled a gun on him, giving rise to a possible self-defense theory.
Mallett remains in Santa Rita Jail awaiting formal sentencing. He has been in jail since April 27, 2020 and will receive credit for that time toward his prison sentence.