San Francisco jurors on Wednesday convicted a man of second-degree murder for strangling and beating his ex-girlfriend into a coma at her Mission District apartment in December 2015.
Rickey Roberts, 60, was found guilty of second-degree murder and criminal threats but acquitted of first-degree murder in the death of Olga Diaz Clark, who was retired and living in public housing at Mission Dolores Senior Apartments.
Roberts came into Clark’s apartment and started yelling before punching her in the head repeatedly and choking her until she lost consciousness on the morning of Dec. 13, 2015, according to prosecutors. Clark eventually woke up and reported details of the assault to a security guard and police.
Clark was rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where she fell into a coma and died three days later despite undergoing surgery to relieve pressure on her brain, according to prosecutors.
“Mr. Roberts was an abuser,” Assistant District Attorney Sam Totah told reporters after the verdict. “She was a prisoner in her own home… In his abuse in the past, he made excuse after excuse for assaulting her and I argued that the excuses needed to stop and the jury agreed.”
Totah said Roberts had a history of threatening to kill Clark, leaving voicemails on her phone the month before her attack where he said he would “hunt” her down and threatening to kill her as he choked her.
Roberts tilted his head down as the clerk delivered the verdict on Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Phong Wong, placed her hand on his back when the guilty verdict was read.
Phong was not immediately available to comment on the verdict.