Three women were charged with murder and robbery today in connection with the shooting death of a San Francisco man in a park near the Pittsburg Marina earlier this month, Pittsburg police Lt. Brian Addington said.
The victim, 22-year-old San Francisco resident Benjamin Merrill, had a date with a woman in San Francisco on the evening of Nov. 2, but she didn’t show up, Addington said.
As Merrill was walking home through the city’s Mission District at about 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, two women pulled up to him in a car. They asked for directions and engaged him in conversation, Addington said.
Investigators believe those women were Pittsburg resident Kiarra Price and Richmond resident Teareney Brown, both 20 years old.
After talking with the two women, Merrill allegedly willingly got into their car, possibly to go have a drink with them, Addington said.
The group ended up in Pittsburg, where they stopped at the house of the third suspect, 21-year-old Pittsburg resident Kendra Fells.
Fells lives about half a mile from Marina Park where Merrill was shot, Addington said.
The group drove to the park and got out of the car, at which point the women allegedly robbed Merrill and Price allegedly shot him.
Price, who also had an outstanding drug warrant, was arrested Friday after investigators saw her leave her house in the 200 block of Kingsberry Place in Pittsburg, Addington said.
Brown, who also had a warrant out of Alameda County for vehicle theft, was arrested Monday at a relative’s house in Oakland, authorities said.
Fells has not yet been arrested, but police have a warrant for her arrest, Addington said.
All three women have been charged with murder and robbery, Addington said.
Police have recovered the vehicle they believe was used in the shooting along with Merrill’s iPhone, Addington said.
When police first found Merrill, they were unable to identify him for two days. He did not have a driver’s license on him and had no criminal record, so his fingerprints were not in any law enforcement database.
Shortly after the shooting, however, investigators issued a flyer to law enforcement agencies with a photograph of the victim. Coincidentally, Merrill’s cousin, who was watching a trial in San Mateo County Superior Court, happened to look over and see a police officer holding a copy of the flyer, Addington said.
When Merrill’s family contacted Pittsburg police and gave them Merrill’s name, police were able to look up his fingerprints in the Department of Motor Vehicles database and confirm his identity, Addington said.
Investigators have since talked to the woman who stood Merrill up the night before the shooting and do not believe she was in any way involved in his murder, Addington said.
“She ended up having a rock-solid alibi,” Addington said.