Defense attorney claims slaying victim was police informant

When a 31-year-old man delivered a body to Ingleside police station last year, police and prosecutors thought they had an open-and-shut case.

On July 26, 2007, Jaime Gutierrez drove the body of Abraham “Spanky” Guerra, 37, to the station. Guerra had been hit with a shotgun blast, and Gutierrez turned himself in for the killing.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Gutierrez with first-degree murder.

But Gutierrez’s defense team said Monday during opening statements of his trial that the story is much more complicated.

Defense attorney Eric Safire said that not only was the dead man a known gang member who was extorting Gutierrez for money, but he also was an informant for the authorities.

On the day of the killing, Guerra drove up to Gutierrez’s classic-car repair shop with two other known Norteño gang members, Safire said. Guerra was armed with a handgun, demanding that Gutierrez pay him a portion of a recent car sale.

Gutierrez, fearing for his wife and daughters, went inside the shop and grabbed a shotgun instead, Safire said. After Guerra refused to leave, Gutierrez went to the passenger side door and shot the armed man in self-defense, Safire said.

Safire said Guerra was on parole at the time, while Gutierrez had turned his life around after spending three years in a gang as a teenager.

Prosecutors would not comment on Guerra’s role as an informant. They claim that Guerra was unarmed and killed in cold blood.

The trial continues today. 

bbegin@sfexaminer.com 

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Keith Doran, left, and the author celebrate a short but successful outing on El Capitan. (Courtesy photo)
Climb on: 50 lessons in 50 years, part 3

Series offers tips for adventurers seeking fulfillment outdoors

Most Read