Not guilty pleas in North Beach fatal hit and run

February 25, 2010 7:29:10 PM PST
Three people arrested in last Friday's fatal hit and run car accident in North Beach pleaded not guilty Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court to various charges related to the incident.

Families from both sides of the murder showed up in the courthouse.

Art student Luis Prieto, 21, of San Francisco was walking with his twin brother at Columbus Avenue and Vallejo Street about 2:20 a.m. Friday when the driver of a Nissan Maxima struck and killed him. Police say the vehicle was traveling at high speeds with its headlights turned off. The impact of the speeding car knocked Prieto 70 to 80 feet away.

"I'm here to seek justice, to make sure this man doesn't roam our streets; he's committed crimes before, justice needs to be served this time," Prieto's niece Zasharah Araujo said.

Police say Oscar Alejandre drove the car that hit Prieto; Fidel Bejarano and Andrea Luna were also in the car.

Prosecutors say they have a security video that shows Alejandre, Bejarano and Luna inside the Roaring 20s nightclub.

Investigators say Luna got into a heated argument with someone outside the club.

Witnesses say numerous shots were fired in the air, and then the three sped away in the car.

The prosecutor says a witness saw Alejandre firing a gun outside the parking lot near the club and that evidence shows Bejarano also firing a pistol.

"The physical evidence at the scene, the two sets of gun casings match Barjarano's gun and Alejandre's gun," Brian Buckelew of the San Francisco District Attorney's office said.

Nearby police arrested the three after they abandoned the car several blocks away. Police found another gun and drugs in Luna's purse.

Cameras were not allowed to show the suspects in court.

All three pleaded not guilty, Alejandre to second degree murder and weapons and drug charges, Bejarano and Luna also to weapons and drug charges.

"They just want to get away and they want to keep doing what they're doing, you know, they want to keep selling drugs, they want to keep killing people," Prieto's twin brother Victor said.

Alejandre was recently acquitted of a fatal drive by shooting in Contra Costa County. Bejarano has several drug and weapons convictions.