gavel.jpgA man who was accused of first-degree murder for fatally shooting two people inside a San Francisco pizzeria in 2009 has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and will be sentenced next month.

Andres Siordia, 21, pleaded guilty to killing Francisco Pena, 41, and Francisco Cornejo, 26, and wounding a third man in a shooting on Sept. 20, 2009, during a brawl at Papa Potrero’s Pizza at 24th and Potrero streets in the city’s Mission District.

Police said they believed the violence stemmed from a dispute between separate factions of the Norteno street gang and that Siordia’s shooting was in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Michael Sanchez, another gang member, two days earlier.

But Siordia’s attorney, V. Roy Lefcourt, has insisted that his client was coming to the defense of his friends, who Lefcourt said were being attacked with bar stools.

Although he had been charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors agreed to allow Siordia to plead guilty on Feb. 18 to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said.

“We found this to be the best possible outcome for this case,” Stillman said. “Some cases are open-and-shut cases, and this wasn’t one of them.”

The manslaughter counts carry a sentence of up to 27 years in prison, she said.

Siordia’s case returned to court this morning, and a sentencing date of May 24 was set. Siordia was excused from attending today’s hearing.

Lefcourt was not immediately available for comment today on the case.

The pizzeria has since closed.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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