A state appeals court has upheld the voluntary manslaughter conviction and 21-year prison sentence of a woman who, at age 16, helped to lure a Russian immigrant to a remote area of San Francisco and then shot him.
Kimberly Gutierrez, now 21, of El Sobrante, was one of four young women who enticed Eugene Gorenman, 26, a Russian-born computer programmer living in San Francisco, to Fort Funston on the city’s southwestern coast the night of March 28, 2004.
Gutierrez then pulled out a handgun and fatally shot Gorenman, according to a statement one of the other women gave to police.
Gorenman’s body was found on a walking path at Fort Funston on the morning of March 29. His wallet was missing.
Gutierrez was originally charged with murder and robbery, but pleaded guilty in San Francisco Superior Court in February of this year to a charge of voluntary manslaughter and personal use of a firearm in the commission of the crime.
Under the plea agreement, she was sentenced in April to 11 years in prison for the manslaughter, plus a consecutive 10 years for use of the gun.
Appeals in cases of guilty pleas are allowed on only a few issues, but Gutierrez pursued one of those issues by arguing in an appeal that she hadn’t made the plea knowingly because her trial lawyer was allegedly incompetent.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal rejected that argument in a ruling issued in San Francisco Wednesday.
The court said the defense attorney properly gathered evidence, filed motions, cross-examined witnesses at a preliminary hearing and “obtained a negotiated disposition with consequences far less onerous than those she faced if convicted of the original charges.”
Two other women, Jillian McIlvenna, 24, and Felicia Mehrara, 21, also pleaded guilty to a voluntary manslaughter charge and were sentenced in April to 11 and eight years in prison, respectively.
At the time of the slaying, Gutierrez lived in San Bruno, according to San Francisco police, and McIlvenna was her roommate, according to the appeals court ruling. Like Gutierrez, Mehrara was 16 at the time of the homicide, but was charged as an adult.