SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Lamonte Mims, 19, and Fantasy Decuir, 20, both pleaded not guilty Monday in the murder of a San Francisco photographer named Edward French.
Officials said the 71-year-old victim was shot on Twin Peaks in San Francisco in July.
"My goal is to make sure this never happens to a family again," says French's sister, Lorrie French.
Lorrie says the blame for her brother's murder extends beyond Mims and Decuir. "The judge is as responsible for my brother's death as the people that murdered him." After being arrested on July 7th for having a gun while on felony probation, Judge Sharon Reardon released Mims after his July 11th arraignment while he waited for his next hearing. Five days later, on July 16, police say Mims and Decuir robbed 71-year-old Edward of his camera and shot and killed him; Decuir is accused of pulling the trigger.
"I consider them both murderers, they both attacked my brother," says Lorrie.
Today, the San Francisco District Attorney's office is saying the non-profit that generates risk assessment scores made a mistake when placing Mims in the "mid-level" risk category that allows conditional release. "We've had a point of contention with the entity that does the risk assessments on many cases," says Assistant District Attorney, Alex Bastian.
Bastian explains that 'entity,' The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, creates risk scores that are meant to be a tool to help judges to determine if and under what conditions a defendant should be released. The program is a non-profit partly funded by the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Bastian says Mims should have been assessed in the higher risk 'no release' category. "We believe if it was calculated properly, the recommendation would have quite possibly been to not release him and that would have made a different outcome for all of us."
Maxwell Szabo with the District Attorney's office released the following statement today. "The PSA (public safety assessment) tool requires a variety of information about a defendant to assess risk and make custody recommendations.
That information-including prior criminal history and in-custody time-translates to risk factors, characteristics that, when present, indicate a statistically significant increased risk of pretrial failure. When the defendant's score was calculated it appears certain factors were not accurately entered, and this resulted in a miscalculation by the agency that generates the scores."
Nancy Rubin, Interim Director for The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, says they are looking at any possible discrepancies in Mims' case and that they are working on a "root cause analysis" and "bringing in an expert to help re-score the case," which should be complete this week.
But, regardless of the risk assessment score, Bastian points out, "the final arbiter and decider of custodial status is the judge."