Murder Charges Are Back For Man Accused Of Killing Newspaper Vendor

A man suspected of killing a newspaper vendor in the Financial District is facing murder charges for the second time this week, after charges against him were dropped and then refiled.

Mark Anthony Cassell, 36, was arrested on March 13 on suspicion of murder for an incident that occurred at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 28 in front of 1 Post St. that resulted in the death of 77-year-old San Francisco Chronicle vendor Dallas Ayers.

Police had alleged that Cassell approached Ayers, wrapped his arms around Ayers’ waist, picked him up and dropped him to the ground.

Ayers was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Feb. 21.

Cassell was arrested after police from the department’s Tenderloin station recognized him from a department-wide bulletin. He had a bench warrant out for his arrest on methamphetamine possession and petty theft charges.

Wednesday, prosecutors declined to file murder charges against him, district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

“We can only charge a case when we have a good-faith basis to believe we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Bastian said.

Apparently they found that good-faith basis, as Friday afternoon he was again charged with elder abuse and murder, the Chron reports.

They didn’t have to go far to find him, as Cassell was still in custody on $10,000 bail on the drug and petty theft charges.

Bastian didn’t tell the Chron what new evidence inspired the DA’s office to revive the charges, but did say that Cassell should be arraigned this week.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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