JewelryMart murder defendant painted as ‘savage’ in closing arguments

Barry White booking photo. (Courtesy SFPD)

Either Barry White’s deadly rampage at a San Francisco jewelry wholesaler in 2013 was an act of revenge for being “dissed” in a jewelry deal, or he acted without forethought because of a mental condition that was a result of being shot in the head.

Such were the closing arguments presented Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court by attorneys in the murder case against White, who allegedly killed two people and seriously wounded a third at the JewelryMart at 888 Brannan St. on July 12, 2013, and then opened fire on responding police.

White allegedly killed two women after arguing with employees at the JewelryMart because he thought he had overpaid for a gold necklace. White, 27, faces 16 felony charges in connection with the attack at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store in the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart.

The Antioch resident shot two people and then slit the throat of a third with a knife, nearly decapitating one victim. White allegedly killed Lina Lim, 51, and Khin Min, 35, and injured Vic Hung.

“On July 12, 2013, Barry White went hunting,” said Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles in her closing argument Wednesday morning.

Much of her closing argument methodically went over the evidence of the homicides, attempted killings and additional weapons charges. She even played a number of videos that captured in detail the gruesome events that day.

“This case is so savage, this case is so evil that you really have just one option,” said Knoles before arguing that the jury must find him guilty of first-degree murder, which requires malice of forethought. “We just need intent to kill … You don’t savagely slaughter someone and slice them the way you did unless you mean to kill them.”

Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof, who had argued that White was suffering from a mental disorder during the killings, had to alter his closing tactics because White withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity last week.

But Maloof, who nearly didn’t give a closing because White asked — and was denied — if he could give the closing argument, said the case was all about White’s mental state since he was shot in the back of the head in 2009 by a police officer. 

“It’s not a who-done-it case,” said Maloof. “This case is about Barry White’s mental state.”

Maloof said that none of the doctors who testified in the case disagreed that White had a mental disorder. That fact, said Maloof, should be enough to find White not guilty. That’s because state law directs them to find White not guilty if they find he suffered from such a disorder. This issue is less specific than White’s former plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and does not require the same scrutiny.

“He is suffering from a mental disorder and no one disputes that,” said Maloof, who never denied the violent acts committed by his client. Instead, Maloof argued that White felt wronged by the Vitoga company and was not acting in his right mind.

“We have never been hiding the violent acts Barry committed,” said Maloof.

The jury began deliberating after closing arguments concluded Wednesday.

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