Pizza-parlor slaying case testimony still puzzling

The Sunset pizza parlor double-slaying case that took a twist earlier in the week found no additional clarity on the second day of testimony, with five prosecution witnesses Tuesday who were unable to positively identify a Daly City man accused of the shooting.

The preliminary trial for Matthew Owyang, 19, took a sharp turn earlier this week when a witness admitted to lying to police about a fifth man who jumped into a car on the early morning of March 29, when Jason de la Cruz, 31, and Derek Butch, 23, were gunned down outside Irving Pizza at Irving Street and 19th Avenue.

Owyang’s girlfriend, Anita Tran, 19, said Tuesday that she also omitted the name of Eric Siu when questioned by police after the slayings.

“I didn’t think it was necessary to mention my friend’s name,” Tran told Assistant District Attorney George Butterworth. “Maybe I forgot Eric was in the car.”

Another passenger in Owyang’s car, Andrew Lei, was so drunk during the killings that he didn’t remember who else was in the vehicle as it left the chaotic scene, according to his testimony.

He and Owyang had been drinking Absolut vodka outside A.P. Giannini Middle School for “three hours” before driving to Irving Pizza to meet with friends. He said he couldn’t remember getting home, let alone who killed two men that night.

But the cashier at Irving Pizza, Hashen Tazziz, was much more confident of his memory. He identified Siu in a photo lineup after the killings, and testified Tuesday that the shooter did not get into Owyang’s blue Honda Civic.

The argument apparently originated at the front door of Irving Pizza where De La Cruz refused to buy a man a slice of pizza. The argument spilled out into the sidewalk and became heated, witnesses testified Monday.

At least two men without shirts on were at the center of the argument with De La Cruz, shouting, “I’m from the TL (Tenderloin)” and “I’m from the streets.”

bbegin@examiner.com  

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