Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Jury deliberates in David Hill murder trial

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

December12, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The two-month trial for the accused murderer of a San Francisco police officer ended today with two distinctly different interpretations of a tragic story.

On one hand, the prosecution portrayed the defendant, 23-year-old David Hill, as a thuggish mobster who went out the night of April 10, 2004 to seek revenge on the killer of a fellow gang member. In the process, Hill willfully murdered Officer Isaac Espinoza and tried to gun down his partner after they suspected him of carrying a weapon.

The defense, on the other hand, told a story of Hill as a young man growing up in the violent streets of "Baghdad by the Bay" where he chose sides in a street war as a member of the Westmob gang.

On the night of Espinoza's death, Hill was simply taking a well-traveled back-alley route through enemy gang turf in order to buy some marijuana. When a creeping car approached from behind and a passenger got out, he reached for his only protection, an AK-47 assault rifle, according to defense attorney Martin Sabelli.

"Self defense is not an excuse, not a technicality," Sabelli said today. "It's a right that everyone has ... because it's instinctual."

During a rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Harry Dorfman said the defense argument had no basis in fact.

"You know the defense is in trouble when they refer to whole categories of evidence as diversions," he said.

But Sabelli spent much of his closing argument today pointing out that many of the facts were not as solid as the prosecution claimed, especially in the case of Officer Barry Parker, the lone eyewitness to testify in the trial.

Parker faltered on several points during his testimony, from identifying himself as a police officer that night to picking out the wrong man in a police lineup.

Dorfman countered that if Parker were making things up, he could have testified to information that would truly make Hill look guilty.

"He's lucky to be alive, lucky to be in this courtroom," Dorfman said of Parker.

Dorfman went on further to divert any blame placed on Parker or Espinoza himself for what happened that night, saying, "Only one man is responsible here, one man, the defendant."

Dorfman continued, "All the good citizens in the Bayview are supposed to duck in the crossfire? Self defense law doesn't give any special privileges to gang members."

Sabelli addressed the jury and a courtroom filled with police officers and Espinoza's family members as he gave his last words.

"Put a different face on David Hill for a moment," he said "Think about somebody you love and put the face on David Hill ... Not every tragedy is a crime ... that's what guides you when determining what happened that night."

Judge Carol Yaggy reiterated that it would be the jury of seven women and five men that determines which interpretation of the story is correct.

Hill faces murder and attempted murder charges with several special circumstances such as causing the death of a peace officer and murder with a gun.

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.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa