Surveillance footage appears to show Pascal Krummenacher, near, with his brown backpack and Carlos Argueta with his messenger bag when James “Rick” Thomas was fatally stabbed on Sept. 3, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Surveillance footage appears to show Pascal Krummenacher, near, with his brown backpack and Carlos Argueta with his messenger bag when James “Rick” Thomas was fatally stabbed on Sept. 3, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Murder charges dropped against pair accused in SoMa killing

Two men charged with murder for killing a man in the South of Market neighborhood last year will not go to trial after a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday there is not enough evidence against the pair.

Judge Kay Tsenin decided in the preliminary hearing, which is the process in which a court decides if there is enough evidence to move to trial, that there was insufficient evidence to charge Carlos Argueta, an attorney, and Pascal Krummenacher, a former intern at the nonprofit Eviction Defense Collaborative.

Both men had been charged with murder for the Sept. 3, 2015, killing of 61-year-old James “Rick” Thomas outside Tu Lan Vietnamese.

Krummenacher, a Swiss citizen, and Argueta had also been charged with second-­degree robbery and receiving stolen property, and Argueta faced two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors believed Thomas was stabbed after Argueta and Krummenacher robbed him of his bag.

“It is unusual for a murder case to be discharged at this stage in the proceeding. The standard is very low,” said Krummenacher’s lawyer Lewis Romero, referring to the standard for prosecutors. “The right decision was made. The case was very thin at the outset.”

District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Max Szabo said the judge’s ruling was “disturbing,” and that his office will now assess the information and determine how to proceed.

Much of the slaying was caught on surveillance tape.

On the night of the killing, Argueta, the alleged stabber, was out celebrating with Krummenacher, who had just completed his internship at the tenants rights organization.

The pair allegedly got into a confrontation over a backpack with Thomas and several other men after exiting a nearby bar. Krummenacher can be seen stumbling drunk in surveillance footage, and at one point he fell to the ground on Sixth Street.

Untitled-1

Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeinkCrime

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

Los Angeles Dodgers short stop Gavin Lux (9) is caught stealing by San Francisco Giants second baseman Donovan Solano (7) in the first inning of the game at Oracle Park on Sunday, May 23, 2021. (Chris Victorio | Special to The Examiner).
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco supervisors approved zoning changes that will allow a chain grocery store to occupy the bottom floor of the 555 Fulton St. condo building. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Trader Joe’s approved for Hayes Valley, bringing long-awaited grocery store

New Seasons Market canceled plans at 555 Fulton St. citing construction delays

Gov. Newsom wants $4.2 billion to finish the Central Valley link for the bullet train, but legislators aren’t sold. (Illustration by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters; iStock; CA High Speed Rail Authority; Shae Hammond for CalMatters)
Bullet train budget battle: Should California spend more on urban transit, not high-speed rail?

By Marissa Garcia CalMatters High-speed rail was supposed to connect California’s urban… Continue reading

Cooks work in the kitchen at The Vault Garden. (Courtesy Hardy Wilson)
Help wanted: SF restaurants are struggling to staff up

Some small businesses have to ‘sweeten the pot’ when hiring workers

Most Read