By Jojo Kofman
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A preliminary hearing for two men accused of a murder in July of 2020 moved to its ninth day Monday in San Francisco County Superior Court—the victim of the homicide is the cousin of the husband of newly-appointed San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.
And SF District Attorney Jenkins’ name was the focus of some of the dramatic questioning Monday in the trial of two 20-year-old Black men, Sincere Pomar and Stevie Mitchell.
Pomar is represented by Deputy Public Defender Jessie Shay. Mitchell is represented by Defense Attorney Pamela Herzig, who has said Jenkins’ link to the case is prejudicial to her client.
Sergeant Phillip Gordon, who remains on stand after being called at the end of last week, is the main investigator for the homicide which took place on July 5, 2020 at 181 Giants Drive, San Francisco.
Defense attorney Herzig began cross-examination by confirming that Sergeant Gordon had interviewed a boy that was near the homicide location close to the time of the murder, based on surveillance footage.
Defense attorney Herzig explained to the court that, during the interview, the boy claimed he saw two men walking toward him on Giants Drive. The boy said he slowly walked away from the street until he was out of sight of the two men, and once he was, he ran.
Throughout the hearing, Gordon has repeatedly described a white car as the vehicle involved in the shooting which killed the victim.
Continuing to describe the interview with the boy, Herzig noted the boy never noticed or mentioned a white vehicle. Instead, Herzig said the boy thought that the shooters were the men on the sidewalk walking down Giants Drive.
Sergeant Gordon responded, “I don’t know,” when defense attorney Herzig asked if she depicted the boy’s statements appropriately. Defense attorney Herzig asked Sergeant Gordon, “It was confusing to you because the boy didn’t say the shooter was in the car, right?”
Sergeant Gordon responded, “Yes.”
The defense attorney then presented a clip of surveillance footage that hadn’t been shown until today. The clip showed a group of over 30 people fighting less than a block away from the location of the homicide, less than an hour before the shooting.
Defense Attorney Herzig pointed out that in the incident report, a police officer who responded to the fighting scene stated there was a woman who was crying, had shortness of breath, and repeated twice in the officer’s presence, “I can’t breathe, I just got hit.”
Herzig then asked Sergeant Gordon, “In your experience, could the statement ‘I’ve been hit’ be consistent with being shot?” Sergeant Gordon responded, “I guess it could be.”
Sergeant Gordon stated that he never attempted to locate the woman who’d been “hit.”
Defense Attorney Herzig then asked Sergeant Gordon, “Did you do anything to investigate the possible connection between the fight which happened on the corner of Fitzgerald and Giants Dr. and the shooting of the victim?”
Sergeant Gordon responded, “Yes, after doing further investigation I believe it was unrelated.”
Defense attorney Herzig then asked the officer when he learned the victim was related to new SF District Attorney Jenkins, and Sergeant Gordon responded, “About a week or less after the homicide.”
The defense attorney asked, “Did you ever discuss this case during the investigation prior to Mitchell’s arrest with Ms. Jenkins?”
Deputy District Attorney Laycook objected to the line of questioning for relevance. Judge Victor M. Hwang did not sustain the objection, explaining the defense was only attempting to understand Sergeant Gordon’s intentions with the case.
Sergeant Gordon said he’d discussed the case with Jenkins several times, however he couldn’t recall how many times.
During DDA Laycook’s re-direct examination of Sergeant Gordon, he attempted to present the court with a compilation video of surveillance footage.
Defense attorney Herzig immediately objected to the presentation of the video, stating, “It includes clips that aren’t from the raw footage. I don’t have all the raw footage, adding, “We do not have that raw footage to confirm, for instance, what’s put in this movie at a certain time is accurate or actually occurred.”
DDA Laycook responded by telling Judge Hwang that the footage lays foundational basis because it captures the license plate number of the suspect vehicle.
Judge Hwang responded, “I don’t understand if this is relevant. Even if it shows the license plate, I don’t know who is even in this car. So I don’t understand the relevancy to this sequence.” Judge Hwang then asked, “Do we know who the individual is that gets out of the Camaro vehicle?”
DDA Laycook stepped in and stated, “I would argue based on clothing DNA swabs, that it is Stevie Mitchell.”
Judge Hwang responded to DDA Laycook, “You can argue that, but there’s no witness that can argue that’s Stevie Mitchell.”
In a continued attempt to lay further foundational evidence for the compilation video, Laycook told Judge Hwang event by event what he believed to have happened in this homicide case.
After DDA Laycook spoke, Defense Attorney Herzig noted, “there’s no context for this. He’s making conclusions,” arguing, “He saw someone retrieve something from a car, later he didn’t see anyone retrieve anything, then he sees nothing in his hand, doesn’t know if something is in his hand.”