A man whom police say killed one person and injured four others during an unprovoked stabbing spree in October was ordered Friday to stand trial on murder and a litany of other charges.
Before ruling that Yohance Sharp would be made to answer for his alleged crimes, Long Beach Superior Court Judge Laura Laesecke asked the 21-year-old to seriously consider seeking a plea deal.
“I have no idea what happened. … I won’t be the trial judge, but I do want what’s best for you. I always want that,” Laesecke said. “I don’t want you to miss out on what is a good offer because you think you can do better. … It’s probably not realistic.”
But ultimately, Sharp declined.
Now, Sharp faces one count of murder, six counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted robbery and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. If convicted, he could receive 90 years to life in prison, according to prosecutors.
The 21-year-old is accused by prosecutors of carrying out a stabbing spree across Long Beach that started on Oct. 15, when he approached Manuel Delao outside of a 7-Eleven in the 600 block of Atlantic Avenue at around 8 p.m.
Delao testified in court that Sharp went up to him from behind and put a knife up to his neck. At first, Delao said, he thought Sharp was joking, but when he realized he wasn’t, he went into the 7-Eleven to ask for help.
Sharp followed him, but didn’t go inside the store, Delao said. Eventually, Sharp left running, he added.
While this was going on, Dolores Romero was hosting her family at her home on Atlantic Avenue and Anaheim Street for a birthday party BBQ.
Romero and her cousin Joana Velasquez testified in court that when the party ended sometime around 10 p.m., Romero decided to walk Velasquez to her car because she had parked farther than usual and wanted her to be safe.
While the two were walking down the street, Sharp crossed the street toward them and began following them closely, the cousins testified.
Romero said she could sense Sharp behind them, so she turned around. That’s when he asked them why they were scared, Romero said.
“Is it because I’m Black?” Romero recalls Sharp saying.
He then asked them for $20, the two cousins said, but when they told Sharp they didn’t have any money on them, he let them go, according to prosecutors.
Romero and Velasquez continued to the car, thinking Sharp had left. But he hadn’t, according to prosecutors.
The cousins testified in court that when they turned around, they saw Sharp rushing at them with a knife.
Romero, trying to get away from Sharp, fell and hit her head on the curb, she recalled.
“I thought I was going to die,” Romero said in court.
Velasquez, meanwhile, said she felt “paralyzed” as she watched Sharp attack Romero.
The two survived the attack, but Romero required hospitalization and stitches for lacerations to her face and chest.
Two days later, on Oct. 17, Long Beach police officers were called to the 600 block of Anaheim Street for a stabbing.
There, officers found 62-year-old Tina Hook outside of a county-run temporary housing facility at 1133 Atlantic Ave. Her throat had been slit, according to authorities. Hook was transported to a hospital, where she died.
According to prosecutors, Hook was walking in the area at around 5:30 a.m. when Sharp approached her.
At some point, Sharp began punching Hook in the face, eventually stabbing her, prosecutors said.
Security footage played in court shows a man in a yellow jacket, which authorities identifed as Sharp, following a woman and attacking her under a tree.
The woman, identified as Hook, can be seen on the ground as the person identified as Sharp paces back and forth next to her before attacking her again. The person in the yellow jacket eventually leaves the camera frame before coming back again and seemingly standing over the woman and slitting her throat.
Sharp would go on to attack or try to attack four more people, injuring three, according to prosecutors.
Footage from a security camera near Ocean Boulevard and Fifth Place apparently captures Sharp screaming “I’m going to kill a motherf—ker, I don’t care who I kill,” according to prosecutors.
Police eventually tracked down Sharp on the Alamitos Beach bike path after witnesses and victims pointed him out.
Officer Jeremy Gill testified that he witnessed Sharp with a knife that morning on the beach, attempting to chase down a jogger.
When the jogger became aware, they sped and left the scene, authorities said. Gill said he then gave Sharp the command to stop, but he disobeyed him and continued to run away.
Eventually, according to Gill, Sharp threw the knife in the air and it fell in the water, but officers later found it.
Following his arrest, detectives used security camera footage to connect Sharp to Hook’s stabbing.
Detective Donald Collier testified that while Sharp was under police custody, he was captured saying, “I know exactly what the f–ck I did,” while in the interrogation room.
“I killed the one in Long Beach right outside the house … and I just went on a rampage after that,” Collier recalls Sharp saying in the recording. “I always wanted to to try it.”
Sharp’s attorney never disputed that Sharp killed Hook that morning or that he went on a stabbing spree across the city. Instead, he asked a judge to dismiss just one count of attempted murder, which was granted.
However, three additional charges were added: one count of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of robbery.
Furthermore, Laesecke found Sharp to have been in violation of his parole when he attacked Delao, Romero and Velasquez, and when he failed to listen to officer’s commands as they were trying to detain him.
Sharp, whom Laesecke called a “danger” to the community, remains jailed in lieu of $9.065 million bail. He is due back Aug. 4 for arraignment where he will be asked to re enter a plea.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Yohance Sharp’s age and the name of LBPD Detective Donald Collier.