Defense In SF Gift Center Double Homicide Asks Prosecution To Cut Off Media

Dozens of family members of a 51-year-old San Francisco jewelry store employee brutally slain in a double homicide earlier this month called for justice before the suspected murderer was expected to appear in court.

Standing on the steps of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. around 12:30 p.m., as many as 25 relatives of Lina Lim, of Daly City, decried her killing, with some family members breaking down and openly wailing and weeping.

Read all Appeal coverage of the SF Gift Center attacks here.

Lim and Khin Min, 35, of San Francisco, employees at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store inside the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart at 888 Brannan St. in the city’s South of Market neighborhood, were killed in the July 12 attack while the store’s owner, Vic Hung, was seriously injured.

He was treated for critical injuries at San Francisco Hospital. He was released on Friday, a hospital spokesman said today.

Barry White Jr., 23 (pictured above), shot and stabbed the three victims at about 2 p.m. that day, according to police.
Lim’s cousin Ken Cui said he wants White to face the family. He called the killing “tragic, very brutal and devastating.”

“We are here to find justice,” he said.

Another cousin, Annie Sin, said the family has been reeling in the days since Lim’s killing.

“We want to know why,” she said.

The family said Lim had never indicated that she was afraid at her workplace, where she had been employed for more than two decades.

Her brother Ning Zhao, speaking through a Cantonese interpreter, said he thinks about his sister constantly and that he wants justice.

An uncle said Lim “was a good person. She was never angry at anybody.”

He said she leaves behind her husband and an 18-year-old daughter.

Lim’s youngest sister, Joanie Zhao, wearing dark sunglasses, could not contain herself and was outwardly emotional and said while crying, “I want my sister back. I want her to come home. Nothing can replace her.”

According to Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark the incident started because of a dispute over the price of a piece of jewelry.

The attack that ensued was caught on three different surveillance cameras, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that White waited for the other customers to leave before approaching the counter with a revolver and shooting Hung three times. He then shot at Lim once, according to prosecutors.

White then went toward the exit where Min was standing and allegedly shot her before cutting her with a folding knife, then went back to the other two victims and attacked them with the knife, nearly decapitating Hung, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that he then reloaded his revolver and left the store and encountered police while covered in blood.

Police had been sent to the area on reports of shots fired.

Police claim he then shot at the officers and ran into the nearby Dos Amigos Mexican restaurant but surrendered after he ran out of ammunition.

Police said they did not shoot at White, and no officers were injured.

White was arrested and taken to the hospital for minor injuries to his hands.

He was charged with 16 felony counts, including two counts of murder, seven for attempted murder, six for assault on a police officer with a firearm and one count of possessing an assault rifle, according to the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said police found a .38 caliber revolver along with a folding knife on White after he was taken into custody.

In a search of his car near the JewelryMart, authorities allegedly found an illegal AK-47 assault rifle.
He remains in jail on no bail.

In court today, Judge Monica Wiley announced that White, who walked in shackled and wearing a red jumpsuit and looked briefly into the crowd before sitting down, would be represented by an attorney from the public defender’s office.

White had been scheduled to be arraigned last week but that was pushed over to today because of a dispute with White’s attorney Steven Taxman attempting to represent him.

The arraignment was held for another week after White was appointed public defender Steven Gayle.

Gayle filed a motion today requesting that the prosecution “follow ethical guidelines” and stop giving as many details of the case to the media and refrain from issuing statements outlining the case.

The attorney said outside of court that it seems that White had a “serious mental breakdown” at the time of the killings.

He said is aware that there are many grieving families, and that this also affects White’s family.

“I understand this is really serious to lots of people,” Gayle said.

White was previously charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest for an August 2009 incident in Antioch where he allegedly rammed an Antioch police car with his car.

An officer opened fire at him, which prompted White to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against Antioch police in 2011.

At the time of the JewelryMart killing, White was awaiting trial for the Antioch case.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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