Prosecutors: Suspect didn’t stab victim but bears responsibility for his death
A San Francisco man reported to have fatally stabbed another man over a parking space in The City early Saturday apparently did not do the stabbing but still has been charged with murder and assault for his alleged participation in the crime.
Pounloeu Chea, 25, allegedly drove the van that sparked a dispute over parking in front of a party in the 3900 block of Geary Boulevard early Saturday morning. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one murder charge and two assault charges.
Police initially reported that a friend of Boris Albinder, 19, was standing in the parking place to save it for Albinder, when Chea arrived in the van and wanted to take the parking place. When the man in the space refused to surrender the space, police reported, Chea allegedly hit him with the van.
The van’s four occupants then got out and began to assault the man when Albinder, a graduate of St. Ignatius High School who lived in Pacifica, pulled up in his car and jumped out to help his friend, police reported. During the fight, Albinder received stab wounds, from which he later died at San Francisco General Hospital.
In a preliminary report, police said Chea had stabbed Albinder.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi represented Chea at the arraignment hearing Wednesday. At the hearing, he argued that Chea’s bail should be set lower than prosecutor George Butterworth’s request of $1 million because Chea may not have done the actual stabbing.
“Bail should be reflective of the actual conduct that occurred,” Adachi said in an interview Wednesday.
The District Attorney’s Office conceded that Chea may not have stabbed Albinder but contends that he still bears responsibility for Albinder’s death because he allegedly participated in the fight and drove the van.
“He’s still legally liable under the law for the act of homicide that occurred,” District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said.
The judge ended up setting the bail at the requested $1 million.
Chea is the only person arrested so far, but homicide investigators are looking for the other suspects.
If found guilty, Chea faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life.