Loyalty, betrayal and a paranoid culture fearful of snitches around every corner were central themes in the trial of two Hunters Point men allegedly involved in the deaths of two men shot and killed in 2010 and 2013 along the same block.
The closing arguments in the murder and conspiracy trial of Joshua Pittman and Antonio Bowers began Monday in San Francisco Superior Court with prosecutor Todd Barrett laying out the facts of the case and the world the defendants occupy.
“What does it take to kill a brother? Depends on what neighborhood you live in,” said Barrett, an assistant district attorney, in his closing argument Monday in Judge Carol Yaggy’s San Francisco Superior Courtroom. “It takes a lack of loyalty.”
Documented members of the Big Block/HRD gang, Pittman and Bowers are both standing trial on murder charges for the Nov. 4, 2010, killing of their former friend Deon “Bot” Jackson, 25, who was shot six times and killed on the front lawn of an apartment building in Hunters Point as witnesses watched from inside. Bowers was only 16 at the time and later bragged in a rap recording some time later that he was “only 17, shooting like a vet.”
The charges — there are 15 counts in all — allege that the two men along with Kevin Hall (who was killed himself in a 2011 Bernal Heights shooting) plotted to kill their erstwhile friend Jackson in a conspiracy by luring him to the building in the 700 block of Kirkwood Avenue to smoke weed and then shot him.
Pittman, who was 20 in 2010, is also charged with the murder for the killing of Otto Brown, 30, and the attempted murder of a bystander to that killing. Brown was shot and killed June 30, 2013, on the same Hunters Point block where Jackson was gunned down.
Pittman, who was arrested in December 2013 for that killing, has also been charged with a number of firearm related charges and intimidating three witnesses in the case, allegedly from his jail cell.
Barrett relayed testimony from a number of witnesses to the killing of Jackson, and showed them the defendants’ Instagram accounts and text messages — all of which he argued indicated that the defendants had no remorse for the killings they allegedly committed and feared snitches above all else.
One of Pittman’s Instagram posts reads: “Blood doesn’t make us family, loyalty does.”
Another noted that “loyalty is not a word, it’s a lifestyle.”
Another seemed to reference his effort to silence witnesses. “Real friends help you hide bodies. Really good friends help you get rid of witnesses.”
The closing arguments are scheduled to continue today. Lead defense counsel, Deputy Public Defender Sangeeta Sinha, is expected to begin the closing arguments of the defense.