Two San Francisco brothers arrested on suspicion of stabbing a 20-year-old man to death in the Mission District last month pleaded not guilty today to charges including murder and torture in a courtroom filled with friends and family of both the suspects and the victim.
Luis Gutierrez, 21, and Javier Gutierrez, 26, appeared together in front of San Francisco Superior Court Judge Tracie Brown this morning and pleaded not guilty to the stabbing death of 20-year-old Ronnie Goodman.
Both the suspects and the victim in this case were involved in the Mission District’s urban art scene.
Goodman’s mother, who was in the courtroom this morning, said her son was passionate about graffiti. Goodman’s cousin said his friends have been creating graffiti in his memory since his death.
The defendant’s lawyer pointed out to the judge that employees from the Southern Exposure Gallery in the Mission District, where the Gutierrez brothers participated in an Artists in Education program, showed up in the courtroom in support of the defendants.
Goodman was killed on the corner of Capp and 24th streets, about a block from the 24th Street BART station, at 11:49 p.m. on Sept. 9, police said.
Goodman was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died from his wounds, police said.
Following the homicide, police released video footage from a surveillance camera showing two males running down a graffiti-covered street after the stabbing, and received numerous calls from the public regarding the crime, police said.
The brothers were arrested on Oct. 19 in connection with murder and are facing charges of murder, torture, assault with a deadly weapon and use of a deadly weapon, according to Max Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Javier Gutierrez is additionally charged with assault with a less-lethal weapon, and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to Szabo.
The prosecutor told the judge that the Gutierrez brothers “went on a hunt” for Goodman as well as an unnamed victim. The brothers soon found the two victims coming out of a store in the Mission District.
The other victim managed to flee the area, but the brothers chased Goodman before Luis Gutierrez tackled him to the ground.
Goodman’s mother and cousins were present in the courtroom today while the prosecutor described the injuries suffered by the victim.
The prosecutor alleged that Luis Gutierrez used a stun gun on Goodman before stabbing him multiple times with a knife as he lay supine on the ground.
According to the prosecutor, Luis Gutierrez stabbed Goodman in his throat and torso as Javier Gutierrez kicked Goodman multiple times in his head.
As the prosecutor described the injuries Goodman suffered, one of Goodman’s female relatives called out in anguish and then ran from the courtroom.
The prosecutor said that the brothers are a danger to the community and opposed lowering their bails, which were initially set on Tuesday at $3 million a piece.
The defendants’ lawyers both expressed to the judge that they felt the bail amount was excessive and that both defendants are lifelong San Francisco residents and active participants in the community.
Javier Gutierrez’ lawyer said he was a graduate of Mission High School where he participated in school sports. He said his client received a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute and is pursuing a career in sports photography.
He said that Javier Gutierrez not only volunteered at Southern Exposure Gallery, but also worked as an art director for the Boys and Girls Club, as well as an employee at the Urban Putt restaurant and miniature golf establishment. He said his client had no criminal record.
Judge Brown revised Javier Gutierrez’ bail amount to $2.5 million today, saying that he appears to be slightly less responsible than his brother, whose bail remains set at $3 million.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News