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Prosecution: David Hill wouldn't turn his back on death

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

December12, 2006

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 that."

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 cop.

"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.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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