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Benicia Police Department
Friday December 11th, 2009 :: 12:50 p.m. PST


Richmond Man Found Guilty Of Attempted Murder And Mayhem In Vicious July 2008 Stabbing

A Solano County Superior Court jury found a Richmond resident guilty of attempted murder and aggravated mayhem in the vicious July 2008 stabbing of a then 23 year old Benicia man that left the victim blind in both eyes after being stabbed in the eyes, mouth, cheek, shoulder, and knee.

James Bilbrey, 40, faces life in prison and was remanded into custody on $1 million bail after the verdict was read in Judge Dwight Ely's Vallejo courtroom. Sentencing is scheduled for February 2, 2010. Bilbrey had been free on bail prior to the trial.

On July 13, 2008 about 2:30 am, Joseph Tomada, now 24, was walking on the 900 block of First Street with his sister after leaving the Pastime Club (no longer in business) when he was attacked from behind by James Bilbrey and David Becchio (41 at the time, now 43; Fairfield resident). Bilbrey stabbed Tomada repeatedly; in the ensuing fight Tomada fought back and injured Bilbrey, causing a head injury that resulted in Bilbrey also being taken to the hospital.

Benicia police officers responded to the scene after receiving calls about a possible knife brandishing. Tomada was found bleeding heavily and injured. Bilbrey, as mentioned above, was also injured. Bilbrey was subsequently arrested by Detective Kenny Hart after being released from the hospital (Kaiser, Richmond). Becchio was also subsequently arrested on an arrest warrant and pled guilty to misdemeanor assault for his participation in the incident.

The resulting investigation determined that Bilbrey and Becchio were also at the Pastime Club and were aggressive towards other people and at one point outside the bar Bilbrey brandished a knife at another person. Once Bilbrey and Becchio left the bar and began walking on First Street, their attack on Tomada was random.

The jury trial began on Tuesday, December 1st and concluded on Thursday, December 10th. The jury began deliberations late afternoon yesterday and returned the verdict at 9:45 am this morning. Bilbrey was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, and battery with serious injury. The jury rejected Bilbrey's self defense claim.

"Our responding officers quickly provided medical attention to the victim, did a good job gathering information, and recovered the knife used in the attack," Benicia Police Lt. Mike Daley said. "Detective Kenny Hart worked very diligently to develop a solid case against Bilbrey. The victims family was very appreciative of the effort Detective Hart put into the case and the prosecution efforts of the Solano County District Attorney's Office."

Detective Hart, the victim, and the victims family were present throughout the trial and will attend the sentencing hearing next February.

For further information on this press release, contact Lt. Mike Daley at (707)590-4259 or via e-mail.

Benicia Police Department
200 East L Street
Benicia, CA 94510

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-745-3411

Benicia, CA 94510

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