San Francisco DA George Gascón explains indictments in German tourist murder case 

District Attorney George Gascón (AP file photo) - DISTRICT ATTORNEY GEORGE GASCÓN (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • District Attorney George Gascón (AP file photo)
  • District Attorney George Gascón (AP file photo)

District Attorney George Gascón announced Friday indictments of seven alleged gang members accused of gunning down a German tourist in 2010 and explained why he pursued indictments through the secretive and lengthy Grand Jury process.

All seven suspects — Phillip T. Stewart, Willie Charles Eason and Marcus Blueford, all 19, Delvon Royal Scott, 20, Gethsemane Pita, 18, and Raheem Jackson, 17 — were indicted Friday with felony murder and attempted murder charges for their involvement in what police have described as a rival gang shoot out near Union Square that killed German tourist Mechthild Schroer, 50, and injured two teenagers.

Gascón and Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming said they pursued indictments through the Grand Jury process, which is not open to the public, in an effort to maintain the state’s case against all seven defendants as a whole and for the benefit of more than 60 witnesses, many teenagers, whose testimony Fleming said has taken a psychological toll on them.

“This is a case that really shook The City,” Gascón said.

Though all homicides are taxing, Gascón said, Schroer’s death is particularly hard-hitting because she was an innocent bystander and a visitor to The City. After the incident, San Francisco got a bad wrap in European media, questioning The City’s safety for guests, Gascón said.

“Any murder is a tragedy, but this is a city that lives in tourism,” said Gascón, though he insisted that the decision to pursue the case through a Grand Jury had “nothing to do with the profile of the case.”

Moving forward, the court will have to decide whether to continue with a joint trial for all seven defendants. Gascón and Fleming could not say when that decision would be made.

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