Drug deal murder case from 1990 heads back to court 

A 43-year-old man who has served nearly 20 years in prison for the murder of another man during a drug deal at the Alemany public housing projects is now set to go to trial again for the same murder.

Maurice Caldwell was convicted in 1991 of second-degree murder for the June 30, 1990 fatal shooting of another man, Judy Acosta.

However, this past December, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that Caldwell’s original attorney had been ineffective by not trying to interview other witnesses who said Caldwell had nothing to do with the shooting.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office then said they would retry the case — despite the fact that the main witness in the original trial, a woman who was Caldwell’s neighbor in the projects and claimed she saw him fleeing the scene of the murder, is now herself deceased.



Defense attorneys say Caldwell claimed he merely heard the gunshots and went outside to see what had happened. They say another man in prison in Nevada for another murder has confessed to Acosta’s killing.

Prosecutors plan to introduce the woman’s original testimony at this trial, but the defense will likely challenge that.

The case kicks off today with pretrial motions. Evidence won’t be presented for several more days, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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