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Man accused in killing of Australian tourist pleads not guilty

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(S.F. Examiner file photo)

A father of two who is suspected of killing an Australian tourist appears to have only pushed the victim in a confrontation between two groups of people and not attempted to take the tourist’s life, his lawyer said Tuesday in a San Francisco courtroom.

David Murillo, 34, who was in town for work, was arrested Friday for allegedly killing Matthew Bate, 33, of Australia, inside a Russian Hill hotel. According to statements in court, the fight began when two groups of men came upon one another near or inside the da Vinci Villa hotel on Van Ness Avenue near Union Street. After Bate was struck, he fell and hit his head.

He was taken to a hospital where he died.

“Mr. Murillo had no intention to harm him or kill him, especially to kill him,” said Mark Jacobs, the deputy San Francisco public defender defending Murillo. “What happened was horrible for [the victim], but also horrible for Mr. Murillo.”

Murillo, whose charges have been reduced to involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor battery, appeared at his arraignment Tuesday afternoon wearing an orange jail sweat shirt and stood with slumped shoulders and a stunned look.

He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The prosecutor said Murillo attacked Bate without being provoked, but acknowledged that the suspect’s clean record played a part in his reduced bail.

His bail is set at $100,000 and he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 14.

Lailah Morris, an assistant district attorney, said the bail accounts for Murillo’s family situation and lack of criminal history, but “also takes in [to] consideration the life [that] was lost here.”

After the confrontation early Friday, Murillo went to sleep at the da Vinci Villa hotel after the incident, and cooperated with the police upon arrest, Jacobs said.

Murillo is a resident of Hesperia in San Bernardino County. He has two daughters and a longtime girlfriend, Jacobs said. Murillo came to San Francisco around May 30 to work on custom draperies and shades for Interior Specialists Group, and stayed in a hotel between Van Ness Avenue and Union Street.

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