Elsewhere: Jury acquits 3 in gangland slayings Ex
Three men charged in two separate killings in San Francisco in 2007 were acquitted today of murder in San Francisco Superior Court.
Emon Brown, 21, Joc Wilson, 23, and Floyd Jackson, 22, were indicted by a criminal grand jury in 2008 on murder and gang charges.
A jury found them not guilty of all charges this morning.
Prosecutors had charged all three men with the Aug. 2, 2007, murder of 29-year-old Brandon Perkins, of San Francisco, in the 100 block of Loehr Street. Brown and Wilson were also charged with the Sept. 2, 2007, murder of 32-year-old Byron Smith, of San Francisco, in the 100 block of Velasco Avenue.
Both murders occurred near the Sunnydale public housing projects.
Prosecutors accused the three men of being members of the Down Below Gang in the Sunnydale neighborhood, fighting for territory in the area with the Towerside Gang, to which the victims allegedly belonged.
Police said the victims were chased down in broad daylight and gunned down.
According to the public defender’s office, which represented Wilson, the prosecution case “relied solely on thin circumstantial evidence.”
Deputy Public Defender Steve Olmo argued that Wilson’s DNA being found on the handlebar of a bicycle ridden by one of Smith’s assailants did not prove his client actually participated in the killing.
Olmo said some witnesses told conflicting stories or changed their testimony, and that one witness “was emphatic” Wilson was not present during Smith’s killing.
The guns used in the killings were never recovered, the public defender’s office said.
“My client was not there,” for either shooting, said attorney Tony Tamburello, who represented Brown.
Tamburello claimed the one witness to Perkins’ shooting was untruthful, and that he tainted the testimony of a female witness to Smith’s shooting.
“She was absolutely not only tainted, but she was unable to see what she claimed to have seen,” Tamburello said.
The jury had a difficult job, but “did the right thing,” Tamburello said. “The family of the victims lost everything, but I think they understood that a wrongful conviction wasn’t going to solve their problems easily,” he said.
Jackson’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment this afternoon.
“This was always a hard case,” said district attorney’s office spokesman Brian Buckelew.
“Witnesses were too scared to come forward, and the defense used that as an opportunity to cobble together arguments for reasonable doubt.”
“But we will always prosecute difficult cases against murderers and thugs when we believe they are guilty, as we did here,” Buckelew said.