Conviction in South of Market slaying of Joseph Minozzi

Courtesy photoJoseph Minozzi (pictured) was portrayed as a villain in A&E's reality show "Intervention

A Fairfield man was convicted Wednesday of fatally stabbing 30-year-old Joseph Minozzi, a high-rise window washer who had appeared in a 2010 episode of A&E’s “Intervention.”

Charles Robertson faces 26 years to life in prison for the South of Market murder last year, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said Thursday. Robertson is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 17.

Although the slaying occurred near the drug-addled corner of Sixth and Stevenson streets, prosecutors said Thursday that Minozzi was not murdered as the result of a drug deal gone bad. Minozzi did not know Robertson and was simply buying a pack of cigarettes with his girlfriend the night of Jan. 12, 2012. Robertson started a fight with Minozzi for no apparent reason, prosecutors said.

The murder occurred about 2:30 a.m., when Minozzi and his girlfriend went to a store on Sixth Street to buy cigarettes. Outside the store, Robertson approached Minozzi and essentially “talked smack,” prosecutors said. Minozzi tried to walk away, but Robertson followed him about 50 feet into the Stevenson Street alley and fatally stabbed him with a knife.

After the attack, Robertson walked to the Vagabond Inn on Ninth Street to meet a prostitute he had been pimping, prosecutors said. He asked her to get rid of the knife and hide his jacket. The pair then fled to Atlanta using false identification.

With the help of witnesses, police investigators managed to contact the prostitute, who helped police locate Robertson’s jacket. She became a key witness for the prosecution.

Video surveillance footage that caught parts of the incident was also reportedly “instrumental” in the first-degree murder conviction.

Before his death, Minozzi had recently moved to the Bay Area hoping for a better life and took a job as a window-washer. Two years earlier, he had been portrayed as a villain type on “Intervention,” a reality show about drug addiction. The episode focused on Minozzi’s then-21-year-old ex-girlfriend Rachel Coccio, who lived as a junkie panhandler in New York. Minozzi was portrayed as the abusive boyfriend who tried to talk Coccio out of rehab.

Coccio continued to express love for Minozzi long after his death, and those who knew him in San Francisco described his character as “completely different” from how he appeared on the show.

District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday's conviction “marks a small step” toward making the long-troubled Sixth Street corridor a safer neighborhood.

“The residents of this neighborhood suffer from a disproportionate amount of violence,” the district attorney said in the statement.

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