Homicide Prelim Moves into 5th Day – Forensic Experts Dominate Testimony


By JoJo Kofman

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A preliminary hearing for two men accused of a July, 2020, murder proceeded into its fifth day Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court—the victim of the homicide was the cousin of the husband of newly-appointed San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

The prelim will reconvene Wednesday.

The co-defendants in the case are two Black men, both 20, Sincere Pomar and Stevie Mitchell.

Pomar told this reporter in a brief interview that, “Ingleside police like to target our neighborhood.”

The hearing Tuesday started with the examination of Devanshi Desai, who authored multiple lab reports analyzing DNA profiles and evidence items associated with the homicide.

As Deputy District Attorney Aaron Laycook examined Desai, she explained that she had access to raw data which made up the DNA profiles of all four individuals described in her report, including Mitchell and Pomar. Desai explained that these profiles were put into STRmix, a forensic software, and then were compared to reference samples of evidence items associated with the case.

One evidence item discussed by Desai on Monday was a Gatorade bottle, which she compared to Mitchell’s and Pomar’s profiles. Defense attorney Pamela Herzig said that Desai had discussed her swab of a particular area of the bottle to determine the profile, or profiles, found in the mixture.

Defense attorney Herzig then asked, “That’s an example of a subjective decision you made, to swab the Gatorade bottle in that particular location to determine who drank out of it, right?” Desai responded, “yes.”

The next witness called by the prosecution was Megan Pytlik, a firearms and tool mark examiner who is employed by the San Francisco Police Department’s criminalistic laboratory.

During DDA Laycook’s examination, Pytlik confirmed she examined a series of expended ammunition components as received evidence items from the incident, as requested by the homicide unit.

Pytlik stated that, in her examination, she received 29 fired cartridge cases that were fired by two different unknown firearms. Nineteen casings came from one unknown firearm, and 10 casings came from a different unknown firearm. Pytlik confirmed the firearm was consistent with the “Glock” weapon manufacturer.

During defense attorney Herzig’s cross-examination, Pytlik explained that she doesn’t review the 64 form, which dictates the list of evidence items being examined, noting, “My supervisor reviews the 64 form that includes specific requests from the police department, and I get assigned to do the reviews.”

Pytlik then explained, “I receive limited information.” Defense attorney Herzig then said the information that’s relayed to Pytlik is “reliant on someone else’s work.”

The last witness of the day called by the prosecution was Dr. Amy Hart. DDA Laycook confirmed Hart’s role as a forensic biologist involved in the autopsy investigation of the victim. Hart confirmed she was the medical examiner assigned to the investigation related to the death of the victim.

DDA Laycook moved through Hart’s evidence findings in the case, in which he asked Hart to analyze and describe her findings of wound one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10.

Hart described wound number one in the autopsy report, stating “this gunshot wound is complex, the entrance wound appears to be located on the right side of the head.” Hart then explained her reasoning for defining it as an entrance wound, as opposed to an exit wound.

Hart further described the pathway of the gunshot, explaining “the path goes through the brain, but it’s not singular or simple…wound one is likely an injury that rendered the individual incapacitated.”

During defense attorney Herzig’s cross-examination, she showed Hart photos of the two pictures of pants she had previously described in the photo exhibit, and asked Hart if the victim was wearing those pants, or if they were accompanying him. Hart responded by stating that the pants accompanied the body.

Hart confirmed that she took photos of the pants, or had directed someone to do so. Defense attorney Herzig then told Hart she’d previously described a hemorrhage in the area of the right pants leg. Hart confirmed the defect was described to appear on the right thigh area.

Although the defense did not note this in the preliminary hearing, Hart was mentioned in an SF Chronicle story in 2016 entitled, “Allegations of improper autopsies could have far-reaching implications,” describing various allegations against the operations of the SF Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

SF chronicle stated, “The allegations appear to suggest there was more to the demotion of Dr. Amy Hart—from chief medical examiner to pathologist.” 


About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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