Prosecutors announced Monday they will not be seeking the death penalty against several young men charged with the murder last year of a German tourist caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between allegedly warring gang members outside a party near Union Square.
Six males are now in custody in connection with the Aug. 8, 2010 killing of 50-year-old Mechthild Schröer, a German school principal who had been visiting The City with her husband Stefan.
Phillip Stewart, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, Marcos Blueford, 19, and Raheem Jackson, 17, who is charged as an adult, were arrested early last month are all facing charges of murder, with the special circumstances allegation it was committed for the benefit of a gang. The sixth suspect, Gethsemane Pita, 18, is charged as an accessory to murder.
“We have decided that we will not be seeking death in this case,” Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming announced at a brief court hearing for the suspects Tuesday afternoon.
Fleming said the decision had been made in consultation with District Attorney George Gascón and the office’s death penalty review committee, after reviewing the circumstances of the case, the age of the suspects and their prior criminal histories.
Stefan Schröer, who returned to San Francisco with his two sons in late April, was not specifically consulted on the death penalty decision, but Fleming said following the hearing that Gascón had met with him during his visit and they discussed the range of possible penalties.
Arrests had still not been made at the time, and Fleming said punishment had not been the family’s primary concern.
Capital punishment is outlawed in Germany.
Arraignment and plea entry for the suspects has been postponed until July 19. The defense is still receiving evidence in the case, which prosecutors have said includes video from the scene of the shooting.
Charging documents accuse the suspects of shooting at each other at Geary and Mason streets outside the party that night. Schröer and her husband had been walking back to their hotel nearby when she was struck and killed.