Nearly four years to the day after two women were viciously killed in a South of Market jewelry store, 12 San Francisco jurors found a 27-year-old man charged with their murders guilty.
Barry White was convicted in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday after jurors deliberated for less than a day of 16 felony counts, including two of first-degree murder and seven of attempted murder for nearly killing another man in the store and firing a revolver at responding police officers.
“It is the four-year anniversary next week,” said Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles, who called much of the video evidence in the case “chilling.”
Knoles, who played surveillance video of the crimes in her closing argument Wednesday, said to reporters after the verdict, “The entire courtroom was riveted by the savage nature” of the events.
White’s weeks-long trial included repeated surveillance video played by prosecutors of his violent rampage on July 12, 2013, at 888 Brannan St. in the Victoga Inc., a jewelry store in the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart.
In multiple videos White was pictured entering the store to get money back on a gold piece he said weighed less than what he had ordered.
By the time White exited with a bloodied T-shirt, he’d left behind the gruesome scene: Two women lay dead — one shot and then stabbed, and the other who died from a slit throat — and a bloodied but surviving man, who wailed for help. After calmly walking from the building, White ran from police and then hid in a nearby taco shop from which he opened fire before surrendering.
He was found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing Lina Lim, 51, who he shot and stabbed, and Khin Min, 35, whose throat he cut. Both women had worked at the store for years.
White was also found guilty of attempted murder for shooting and attacking Vic Hung, the jewelry store’s owner. The other counts of attempted murder he was convicted of were related to his firing at officers who responded to the scene.
Trial and verdict
The murder trial, which opened May 31, ended Wednesday and jurors only deliberated for half a day before they returned a verdict Thursday afternoon.
White had initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but later withdrew that plea.
Despite the long trial, several jurors who spoke with the San Francisco Examiner after Thursday’s verdict said their choice was quick and easy.
“We deliberated for half a day,” said juror David Zensius, 71. “I think there’s a mental problem but not one that was black and white.”
A second juror agreed.
“It was not a very difficult choice to make,” said 36-year-old Greg Molnar. “He knew what was right and wrong.”
The main defense put up by Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof was not believable, said Molnar.
“I thought it was a ruse,” said Molnar about Maloof’s argument that his client had a mental disorder.
Still, Maloof contended that his client’s mental state was a significant issue in the case.
“This is a young man that was shot at the age of 19 and has had issues since then,” said Maloof outside of court, referring to a 2009 incident in which White was shot in the back of the head by a police officer.
Meanwhile, Knoles’ comments after the verdict were centered on the family of the victims.
“I feel good for the families because they have been through so much in the past four years,” said Knoles. “To finally get a little bit of justice is what they’ve wanted.”
White, who said little after the verdict was read, did ask Judge Ethan Schulman in court for a Marsden motion, which is essentially a request to fire his lawyer. On Wednesday White even asked the judge if he could make the closing argument instead of his lawyer, but that request was denied.
White is set to return to court Monday for one final element regarding whether he had violated a court order when he committed the 2013 crime.
Not sentencing date has been set.