Tourist shooting suspects make 1st court appearance

May 5, 2011 7:33:22 PM PDT
Five young men arrested in the murder of a German tourist appeared in a San Francisco courtroom Thursday. They are charged in the shooting death of Mechthild Schroer in the city's theater district last summer.

There was heightened security in the courtroom, extra deputies were present. Some of the families of those arrested were there, as were others who have been monitoring this case on behalf of the victim's family.

German Consul General Peter Rothan came to the court hearing. He has followed the case closely since Schroer's death,

Rothman met Stefan Schroer when he came to San Francisco last week with their two sons. During that time, they had been briefed by District Attorney George Gascon, who told them he had a solid case.

"We were made to understand that the police had worked very hard and had found new evidence and were following concrete leads," Rothan said.

Most of the seven young men captured Wednesday had been arrested the very night Schroer was killed. They were never charged and were later released.

But armed with new evidence, police made their arrests during early morning raids at five homes in San Francisco, one in Oakland and another in Fremont. A home on Lake Tahoe Terrace in Fremont was the same one raided several days after Schroer's murder.

Police say all of those arrested are gang members. Some of their family members also came to court Thursday. All say police arrested the wrong people.

"He's a good kid, he goes to school, he gets good grades," Reginald Jackson said. Jackson's 17-year-old son Raheem will be tried as an adult in the case.

The court battle for the high profile case is already heating up. One public defender says police denied her client the right to an attorney.

"The penal code specifically makes it a misdemeanor to deny access to counsel by anyone when the attorney has been requested," Rebecca Young said.

When asked about that, prosecutor Eric Fleming said, "We will try this case within the bounds of the constitution, like we always do, thank you."

The arraignments of the five suspects were postponed until next Monday. The other two are juveniles. At least one will be tried as an adult.

ABC7 has learned that some of the new evidence in the case are the guns that police have since recovered.


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