A man found guilty of killing another man over a drug dispute at a residential hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 2009 was sentenced today to 51 years to life in prison.
Judge Julie Tang sentenced 56-year-old Alex Herrera for the murder of John Montgomery, 42, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
On the day of the murder, Sept. 10, 2009, Montgomery and Herrera were both residing at the Vincent Hotel at 459 Turk St. The Vincent Hotel is a building managed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic that provides shelter to the homeless.
According to the district attorney’s office, Herrera believed Montgomery owed him payment for methadone.
Montgomery was in his room in the Vincent Hotel, where at about 12:30 p.m., Herrera went to Montgomery’s room and demanded money for the drugs.
Montgomery’s girlfriend, Candace Thomas, refused to pay Herrera and slammed the door in his face, according to the district attorney’s office.
Thomas then concealed the methadone on her before exiting the Vincent Hotel so it could be sold.
However, on her way downstairs she passed Herrera, who was heading upstairs.
Thomas stopped on the landing. She heard Montgomery tell Herrera that she had the drugs.
Thomas continued to the lobby of the hotel, but Montgomery came down a couple minutes later bleeding profusely, according to the district attorney’s office.
Herrera then left the hotel via the front lobby and was arrested by police less than a block away.
Montgomery died after suffering 10 stab wounds from a sharp instrument, the office of the district attorney said.
A jury found Herrera guilty of first-degree murder on July 11, 2014.
A knife with Montgomery’s DNA was found beneath Herrera’s window at the Vincent Hotel following the murder.
“It’s saddening that a man lost his life over drugs,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “It’s a lesson to us all about the devastating impacts that drug abuse can have.”
Gascón said today that he is glad a man as dangerous as Herrera is no longer going to be able to walk the streets of San Francisco.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News