Prosecution: David Hill wouldn't turn his back
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - David Hill, the man accused of killing
a San Francisco police officer in April 2004, left the cover of
a minivan and walked about 150 feet with his back turned before
turning and firing on two plain-clothed officers, prosecutor Harry
Dorfman pointed out yesterday during his closing argument.
That action, in conjunction with the "bigger picture"
of evidence revealed during the two month trial, invalidates the
defense claim that Hill, 23, killed Officer Isaac Espinoza because
he thought he and his partner were rival gang members on a drive-by
shooting mission, Dorfman said.
"No streetwise gang member turns his back on death like
that," Dorfman told the superior court jury. You're supposed
to believe that to hesitate is to die. If that story is true,
the defendant would have shot earlier."
According to the prosecution, Hill took the time from when he
hid behind the blue minivan to when he walked to the end of the
block to make a decision.
He could drop the weapon, give himself up or even run. Instead,
he chose "by far the worst option."
"He decided his freedom was more important than the lives
of these two men," Dorfman said. "It's as simple as
Dorfman went on to enumerate other pieces of evidence that suggest
Hill knew full well that police officers were approaching him
not gang members.
From jailhouse tapes of Hill using slang words for unmarked police
cars to testimony that Espinoza shined a flashlight into Hill's
face, Dorfman told the jury to look at the big picture.
"Everything in combination tells us he knew he was dealing
with police," he said.
The prosecution earlier painted a picture of Hill as a thug who
achieved a gang member's highest honor by killing a hard-working
"Murdering a police officer in gang culture is the ultimate
act of violence and power," Dorfman told the jury earlier
today. "It says to the community, don't mess with us, even
the police can't stop us."
Dorfman repeatedly picked up the AK-47 assault rifle used to
kill Espinoza, 29, on the night of April 10, 2004. He told the
jury that a law-abiding citizen would never carry the weapon as
they walked the streets of the Bayview district.
"If you're a gang member and you have business to take care
of, it's a different story," said Dorfman, who went on to
tell the jury that Hill took his "weapon of choice"
out on the streets that night for "running and banging, living
the mob life."
"The officers did exactly what we ask them to do, and for
his dedication to his job and his efforts, he lost his life,"
Dorfman said of Espinoza.
Defense attorney Martin Sabelli has claimed that Hill was raised
in a violent and dangerous community, and after growing up in
a gang, Hill developed the instinct to kill out of self preservation.
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