Bartender Blamed for Beating Man to Death with a Baseball Bat
OAKLAND — A bartender accused of killing a panhandler is due to appear in court for a plea hearing on November 30, but meanwhile he’s being held in custody with bail denied.
The victim, Cooky York, a 42-year-old homeless man from Oakland, was smashed on his head with a baseball bat on October 22, and he was taken to a nearby hospital where he soon died.
York initially had a verbal confrontation with his suspected killer, Juan Espino, a 29-year-old Oakland resident and bartender at the Flora restaurant, which is located at 1900 Telegraph Avenue.
The victim was panhandling near the restaurant when he apparently got into an altercation with a relative of Espino, which prompted Espino to leave the restaurant and go outside, where he then confronted the victim, according to police investigators.
The victim started walking away from the restaurant, but then the suspect went inside where he supposedly retrieved a baseball bat, chased the victim down the street, and then allegedly struck the victim on his head with the bat.
York was left lying crumpled unconscious on the sidewalk, and Espino left the area where the incident occurred.
Police gathered physical evidence from the crime scene, and a witness positively identified Espino as the perpetrator of the attack that caused York’s death.
Police arrested Espino at his home early the following day. Espino was booked at Santa Rita Jail on October 23 at 11:58 a.m., charged with murder, and use of a deadly weapon.