A 35-year-old man suspected of beating a man to death with a metal pipe early Saturday morning in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood made his first court appearance Wednesday.
James McGee, who is charged with murder and resisting a police officer, is accused of killing 62-year-old Arif Mohammed Qasim in what prosecutors said was an “unprovoked attack” at the corner of Mariposa and Arkansas streets around 4 a.m.
McGee, a Las Vegas resident, did not enter a plea and his hearing was rescheduled for Friday morning. He’s being represented by the Public Defender’s Office.
According to court documents, an off-duty police officer driving in the area initially saw McGee chasing Qasim with what appeared to be a metal pipe in his hand. The officer then made a U-turn with their vehicle and, after hearing loud thwack noises, the officer allegedly saw McGee fleeing the scene.
Other officers soon arrived in the area and were able to detain McGee, although while being handcuffed, he allegedly broke away and fled. Officers chased him and were eventually able to arrest him, court documents said.
A 911 caller told officers they heard an argument near the scene followed by what sounded like a person being hit with an object or fists, according to court documents.
Officers soon located Qasim lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood with what appeared to be massive blunt force trauma injuries to his head and face. Officers also found blood spattered on a nearby wall and “a white piece of matter that appears to have been from either the brain or skull” of Qasim, prosecutors said.
Officers also found a broken piece of metal pipe from an exercise machine nearby, in addition to a spring and resistance bands.
Qasim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
McGee had what appeared to be fresh blood on his clothes and when officers asked him about it, he allegedly said the blood had transferred on his clothes after walking past Qasim.
McGee is being held without bail and, if convicted, faces a minimum sentence of 25 years, prosecutors said.
-Daniel Montes, Bay City News