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

Outdoor dining, as seen here at Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach in September, is expected to resume in San Franisco this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to reopen outdoor dining, personal services

San Francisco will allow outdoor dining and other limited business activity to… Continue reading

Patients line up in their cars to receive a shot at The City’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Legislation would require SF to create a public COVID-19 vaccine plan — fast

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with… Continue reading

Ian Jameson (center) organized a group of tenant rights activists and assembled at the El Monte City Hall to demand that the City Council there pass an eviction moratorium barring all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30 under proposal

Legislation released Monday would also subsidize rent for low-income tenants

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk is among the dozens of performers in Festpocalypse, streaming this weekend to benefit SF Sketchfest. (Courtesy photo)
Bob Odenkirk joins star-studded Festpocalypse gang

Virtual comedy benefit replaces SF Sketchfest this year

Most Read