Trial begins in brutal South City invasion

A childhood friendship gone sour ended in a bloody, chaotic scene in a South San Francisco apartment that left one man dead, two people injured by gunfire and one woman with a broken back from jumping out of a window, prosecutors said.

A murder trial against two brothers opened Monday. Brian Hedlin, 28, and Shawn Hedlin, 32, are each charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and false imprisonment. Shawn Hedlin, the alleged gunman, is also charged with possession of a firearm. It would be the second strike for both brothers, who face life in prison if convicted.

The Hedlins are accused of fatally shooting Greg Chicas, 22, after barging into the Third Avenue apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Jeanette Briones, 17, and another couple — Eduardo Zapparolli, 24, and Nelia Lopez, 20.

Zapparolli, Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher told the jury, was the Jan. 31, 2005, attack target.

According to Gallagher, Brian Hedlin believed that Zapparolli set him up two years earlier to take the fall for a hit-and-run accident in San Bruno. Brian Hedlin spent nine months in jail over the matter shortly after the birth of his child, Gallagher said.

Several weeks before the killing, Zapparolli reportedly pestered Brian Hedlin’s girlfriend at a party and refused to apologize after spilling beer on the couple’s toddler, according to the prosecutor.

After a night of drinking, Gallagher said, the brothers forced their way into the home and Shawn Hedlin began shooting. Chicas died from a gunshot wound to the head. Next, Shawn Hedlin allegedly shot Briones in the forehead.

After breaking down a door, Shawn Hedlin shot Zapparoli in the head, finger and back, Gallagher said. Lopez managed to lock herself in the bathroom and jump from a second-story window, breaking her back. The three surviving roommates all identified the brothers as their attackers.

Michael DeVoy, Shawn Hedlin’s attorney, maintained his client acted in self-defense after wresting the gun away from Chicas. Brian Hedlin’s attorney Geoff Carr said Brian Hedlin didn’t know Shawn Hedlin was armed.

Outside the courtroom, the defendants’ father, Dale Hedlin, said he didn’t believe his sons were responsible for the killing.

“They grew up playing football and soccer together. They were all friends,” he said.

tbarak@examiner.com

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