shooting_nighttime.jpgThree suspects accused in a drug-related fatal shooting in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in February of last year were held to answer for trial on murder charges today in San Francisco Superior Court.

Javon Fee, 30, of Oakland; Rorico Reyna, 32, of Hayward; and Barbara Barnes, 25, of San Francisco, are accused in the shooting death of 33-year-old Leticia Hunter at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets on Feb. 23, 2009.

There had been a crowd of people standing on the sidewalk, and six others were also injured by gunfire, including a male drug dealer who prosecutors say had allegedly stolen crack from the three suspects earlier in the day.

Police and prosecutors say Hunter was not the target.

According to police, the three suspects pulled up to the intersection in a sport utility vehicle and, after an argument, one man–believed to be Fee–opened fire.

The SUV then sped off and was chased by police onto the Bay Bridge. The pursuit was called off and the SUV was later found abandoned and on fire in Oakland. The three were arrested weeks later, on March 14.

Judge Charles Haines said today at the conclusion of a four-week preliminary hearing that evidence showed the three suspects had been “actively engaged” in dealing drugs, and noted that the intersection where the shooting took place is one of the most active drug dealing areas in the city. He said evidence showed the three were trying to retrieve their drugs when the shootings occurred.

Prosecutors have accused Fee of threatening witnesses from jail, and a note allegedly recovered by sheriff’s deputies from Fee last year was admitted into evidence at the hearing, according to the district attorney’s office.

Fee was reportedly observed placing a piece of paper up against glass during a jail visit from someone and then hiding it in his pants, according to prosecutors.

The note included statements such as “Knock down these witness (sic),” “Get names and address (sic)” and “They look for our mudra wepon (sic).”

Following the incident, a judge prohibited Fee from communicating with others outside jail.

Haines today held all three to answer on murder charges, and Fee and Barnes on attempted murder charges for the shooting of the alleged drug dealer they believed had stolen from them. Haines said there was not enough evidence to hold Reyna on attempted murder.

All three were also held on five counts each of assault with a firearm. Fee and Barnes are additionally charged with being convicted felons in possession of a firearm.

Fee, Reyna and Barnes are scheduled to return to court April 6 for arraignment in superior court. They remain in custody on $5 million bail each. A trial date has not yet been set.

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