Family members of the teenage victims of a double homicide and the suspects arrested in connection with the fatal shootings at Crocker Amazon Playground in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood last month crowded into a courtroom today for the suspects’ initial court appearances.
Davante Robinson and Gregory Morton III, both 21 years old, were arraigned this morning before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman on suspicion of murdering 18-year-old Kenyatta Butler Jr., of San Leandro, and 19-year-old Donzel Gaines, of San Francisco, in a shooting on the morning of March 9.
According to court records, Robinson and Morton are each facing two counts of murder, two counts of discharging a firearm at a motor vehicle and one count of participation in a criminal street gang. Robinson is also facing one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Butler’s grandmother was among the victims’ family members who also attended the arraignment today.
Schulman said both suspects are facing allegations that they engaged in the killings with the specific intent of promoting criminal conduct by street gang members.
The pair did not enter a plea this morning and each is being held in lieu of $5 million bail, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Both suspects are scheduled to enter a plea on Monday, according to the judge.
San Francisco police said the suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting on March 26 after an investigation involving Daly City police and the San Francisco police gang task force unit.
Butler and Gaines were gunned down on March 9 while sitting in a car in a parking lot near the soccer fields and skatepark at Crocker Amazon Playground.
Butler was pronounced dead at the scene and Gaines, who was shot multiple times, was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said.
Robinson was initially arrested in the days following the shooting as he was driving a stolen vehicle sought by police in connection with the double homicide, police said.
Prosecutors said Robinson, a San Francisco resident, pleaded not guilty on March 13 to one count of unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle and two counts of receiving stolen property.
Family members who attended a vigil on March 13 at Crocker Amazon Playground said Butler grew up in San Francisco and spent a lot of his time in the city even after his mother relocated to San Leandro.
Anyone with further information on the homicide is still encouraged to contact San Francisco police anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or to send a text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News