The pair of young lovers were hitchhiking north on state Highway 1 from San Diego last year when they made the acquaintance of a young man named “Smalls,” who was known in and around San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
That meeting would allegedly lead to murderous violence in two Bay Area counties, a multi-state manhunt and murder charges against three possibly methamphetamine-fueled drifters.
Such are some of the new details that emerged Tuesday in the preliminary hearing of a murder case involving three people who allegedly shot and killed a Canadian tourist in Golden Gate Park on Oct. 2, 2015, and then days later a hiker on a Marin County trail.
Lila Alligood, 18, and the boyfriend she said she’s known since she was 12 — and whom she would “do anything for” — Morrison Lampley, 23, appeared in Marin County Superior Court in their county jail-issued clothing as witnesses ranging from detectives to a 7-Eleven clerk testified.
Alligood and Lampley’s co-defendant, 24-year-old Sean Angold — who Alligood claimed the couple met in San Francisco — was not present. Since the three were arrested, Angold has pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for testifying against Alligood and Lampley, but Angold’s name was uttered often in court Tuesday.
Alligood and Lampley had only known Angold for a few weeks at the time of the alleged crimes, testified Detective Scott Buer of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.
During an hours-long, early-morning interrogation in Portland, Ore., where the three were finally arrested, Alligood reportedly told the detective that Angold was smoking meth when she and Lampley met him and that he shared the drug with them.
Soon after the meeting, the trio came into contact with Audrey Carey, a 23-year-old Canadian tourist who was on a short backpacking trip on the West Coast.
“Alligood referred to the victim as ‘the bitch,’” Buer said on the stand, relaying information the defendant allegedly told her cellmate in jail.
But it appeared Carey had no idea of the danger she was in. Carey reportedly thanked the three for befriending her, even though they had already stolen her wallet, Buer testified. “She didn’t know she was gonna die,” Alligood allegedly told her cellmate.
Sometime during the evening of Oct. 2, 2015, as Golden Gate Park filled with revelers who had come for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival, Carey was shot and killed. Her body was left in the woods, just west of the festival’s last stage.
“Lampley jumped up and shoots her and there’s blood and brains all over her,” Buer said, recounting what Alligood told her cellmate.
Police found Carey’s body on Oct. 3 — it would later be revealed that Carey, too, had meth in her system — but Alligood, Lampley and Angold were nowhere to be found. They’d headed north into Marin County.
Dalma De Leon, a 7-Eleven attendant in Fairfax, was the first person to testify that she saw them after Carey’s death. At around 3 p.m. on Oct. 5, Angold walked in and asked for food, De Leon said. She handed him two bananas, and he left.
The trio ran into several people the afternoon of Oct. 5, two of whom testified Tuesday. Both witnesses said Alligood, Lampley and Angold were acting strange.
Luis Juan Aguirre, who was mountain biking in the area that day, was approached by the trio on the side of the road as he got his bike ready near the trailhead.
“They asked me for a ride,” Aguirre said Tuesday, adding that the three offered to give him an expensive-looking bicycle at about 4 p.m.
“I didn’t feel safe,” Aguirre said. “They were getting a little pushy.”
Nearby, on the trail known as Old Railroad Grade, a man was walking his dog at about 5:30 p.m. He passed the trio, and two of them either nodded at him or said hello, according to Marin County Sheriff’s Detective Adam Brown.
The man, who returned to his car, reportedly told Brown that the three looked like “typical meth heads.”
When exactly 67-year-old Steven Carter was shot and killed on that hiking trail was not mentioned Tuesday, but there was testimony — some conflicting — of who did the shooting and what transpired on Oct. 5.
Both of the conflicting stories came from Alligood.
“Sean was racking the slide as he fired,” said Deputy Public Defender David Brown, reading the transcript of Alligood’s first interrogation.
But in another interview with Pamela Bullock, a five-time state prison inmate and Alligood’s cellmate, the defendant changed her story.
Buer said Bullock told him that Alligood said, “The old man needed to die and that Lampley was the shooter.”
Who exactly fired the shots that killed Carter and wounded his dog remains unknown. But as Carter lay bleeding on the dirt road, someone rifled though his pockets for keys and money.
ON THE RUN
Alligood, Lampley and Angold made their way back to the dirt parking lot on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and drove a silver Volkswagen Jetta northwest through bucolic West Marin, tossing Carter’s bloody, bullet-ridden wallet as they fled.
After a 30-minute drive on the rural road, they stopped for gas at Point Reyes Station, where they bought gas, cigarettes and chips with wet $20 bills that may have been stained in Carter’s blood and torn by the bullets that killed him.
“They were wet, and the corners were missing,” said John Plumeri, the gas station attendant who saw the trio at about 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5. Plumeri observed the three entering his station’s bathroom.
Angold, who was caught on video in the store with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, told Plumeri the bills were wet because his “mom had washed money in [his] clothes.”
Then they left, heading north.
TRACKING THE TRIO
Driving Carter’s silver Jetta, the fleeing drifters made their way to Grants Pass, Ore., where a surveillance camera caught them inside a McDonald’s. Angold was dancing and swinging his arms.
Then they passed through Roseburg, Ore., where they allegedly bought marijuana.
Their last destination, according to Duer, was a church in Portland. Duer said the sheriff’s office was tracking the car with GPS.
It was in Portland, with police on the lookout for the car and the three suspects, where Alligood, Lampley and Angold were arrested.
Buer, who was the lead detective in the case for Marin County, flew to Portland with his San Francisco counterpart. The two headed to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, where the three suspects were being detained. They arrived late on the night of Oct. 7, but got to work fast.
When Buer sat down with Alligood, the youngest of the three, she told him she knew little of the crimes. But she eventually said Angold was the shooter.
“Did she tell you Sean Angold shot Mr. Carter multiple times?” Brown asked Buer, who responded in the affirmative.
The early morning wore on, and Duer let the San Francisco detective take his turn. By the time he got a chance to interview Alligood again, she had changed her story. Lampley, who has since been charged as the shooter, was in fact the man who shot both Carey and Carter, Alligood said at the time.
“She stated that she was protecting Lampley,” Buer said of the varied story. “She’d do anything for him. She loved him.”
The preliminary hearing is set to continue Thursday at 10 a.m.