Prosecutors won't seek death penalty in tourist murder

June 13, 2011 3:58:45 PM PDT
Prosecutors said Monday they will not seek the death penalty against six people charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a German tourist near San Francisco's Union Square last year.

A total of seven suspects were arrested last month and an eighth is still being sought in connection with the death of Mechthild Schroer, a 50-year-old woman from Minden, Germany, on Aug. 8, 2010, in the 400 block of Mason Street.

Phillip Stewart, 19, Marcus Blueford, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, and Raheem Jackson, 17, were charged with murder, while Gethsamine Pita, 18, and a juvenile were charged with being an accessory to murder, prosecutors said.

The suspects were set to be arraigned and enter pleas in San Francisco Superior Court today, but the hearing was continued to July 19.

But at today's hearing, Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming told Judge Jeffrey Ross that prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in the case after taking into account the defendants' ages and prior criminal histories.

Schroer, who was visiting the U.S. with her husband Stefan, was apparently caught in the crossfire of a shootout between two groups of people outside a private party, police said. The couple had been staying at a nearby hotel.

Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old woman, were also hit by the gunfire but survived. None of the three victims were the intended targets, according to police.

The chaotic shooting generated extensive evidence-gathering -- Fleming said at today's hearing that there was enough documentation to fill 80 compact discs worth of memory for each suspect.

All seven suspects were also charged with the commission of a crime in association with a criminal street gang, but police have said that all seven are not members of the same gang.

They are all being held on bail amounts ranging from $1 million to $7 million.


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