Murder charge for man found with strangled Mission district man’s ATM card 

DNA evidence has linked a man arrested with the ATM card of a Mission district man found dead on a sidewalk in February to the man’s murder.

Roland Pouncy, 42, of San Francisco was charged on Tuesday with Richard Sprague’s robbery and strangling murder, after lab tests reportedly confirmed the presence of his DNA on Sprague’s neck, a source close to the case said.

Sprague, 47, was found dead on Julian Avenue near 15th Street, several blocks from his home, early in the morning of Feb. 19.

Pouncy, who has an extensive rap sheet, had been considered the suspect in Sprague’s death from the beginning, according to police. He was arrested several hours after Sprague’s body was discovered, and had Sprague’s ATM card on him, police said. But investigators could not conclusively link him to Sprague’s death until DNA lab results came back.

Pouncy, who remained in custody and was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Tuesday on a felony charge of receiving stolen property, instead was arrested on charges of robbery and murder. Pouncy has not yet entered a plea to the new charges, and his attorney, Stephen Rosen, said he is reviewing the latest evidence.

Homicide investigators and prosecutor Eric Fleming confirmed there had been a DNA link.

“Mr. Sprague was strangled, and we believe the DNA supports that it was Mr. Pouncy who strangled him,” Fleming said.

Investigators declined to discuss a possible motive for Sprague’s killing, and the circumstances that led up to his death remain unclear. Sprague’s longtime domestic partner has said Sprague went out late that night to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned.

Neighbors in the area where Sprague’s body was found reported hearing Sprague calling out for help, but police were not called until hours later.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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Ari Burack

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