A San Francisco man who was accused of taking part in an armed drug robbery in 2008 in which another man was shot to death was acquitted of murder today in San Francisco Superior Court.
Max Reyes, 25, was arrested the day after the Nov. 3, 2008, shooting of 36-year-old John Rogers inside Rogers’ Bernal Heights flat at 40 Fair Ave. An associate of Rogers was also shot and survived.
Reyes was not believed to be the shooter, but prosecutors accused him using the state’s felony-murder rule, under which participants in violent felonies that result in homicide can be charged with murder.
Reyes could have faced multiple life terms in prison for murder and attempted murder, but the jury this morning found him not guilty of both counts, and deadlocked 11-1 in favor of not guilty on a robbery charge.
Police and prosecutors alleged that Reyes and two other men came to Rogers’ apartment to pick up a pound of marijuana to sell, but that during the transaction, one of the men pulled a gun and another man simultaneously grabbed the drugs and ran out of the apartment. Rogers was found shot in the head inside the apartment.
The suspected shooter has not been arrested.
Prosecutors alleged that Reyes had sold pot for Rogers in the past, and had stolen a small quantity from him on another occasion prior to the killing, but Reyes claimed he had no idea a robbery was going to take place that night.
Reyes, a laborer with no criminal record, took the stand in his own defense during the trial and claimed Rogers was his good friend–“my brother,” he called him.
Reyes testified that he ran from the apartment because he was scared, and heard gunshots from outside.
Reyes said he knew the gunman but refused to identify him from a photo in court, “because my family will be killed.”
“Justice was done,” Reyes’ attorney Eric Safire said after the verdict was read.