Dismembered body suspect Mark Andrus leaves SF County Jail a free man. DA says case lacks of evidence. pic.twitter.com/Sdus0Exz6p— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) February 4, 2015
SFist just received word from the San Francisco District Attorney's office that the suspect in The Suitcase Murder, Mark Andrus, will not be charged with murder today, and therefore he will likely be getting released from police custody pending any other charges.
As reported earlier today, because the SFPD has been holding Andrus in custody since early Saturday morning, they only had until today to bring a charge against him, and pending some positive ID of the victim whose body parts, minus head and hands, were found in a suitcase on 11th Street last Wednesday. The medical examiner could not make a positive ID yet, and they had a deadline of today to release him.
Per the DA:
We are very disturbed by the facts of this case and are working with the San Francisco Police Department to secure the evidence necessary to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. At this stage of the case, the Medical Examiner has yet to determine a cause of death or issue a positive identification of the victim. Additionally, there are other key facts that are still unknown. Given the current state of the evidence, there is insufficient evidence to charge this suspect with murder.
There has been a suggestion, via a Chronicle piece published this morning, that the victim in the case could be a close friend of 59-year-old suspect Mark Andrus, a man who had been reported missing recently. Another friend of Andrus, who still maintained he did not think Andrus was a murderer, said he had seen Andrus in possession of the state ID card of the missing man, identified as 58-year-old Omar Shahwan of Vallejo.
The SFPD has been careful to refute these media reports, saying that they not only have not identified the remains, but that they can not prove it was murder.
For instance, even if Andrus was involved in the stashing of the body, as the circumstantial surveillance evidence suggests, this could have been the case of a person who died of natural causes (or an OD), and a suspect might have had another motivation for wanting to pretend they had not died.
All speculation aside, we are awaiting confirmation from the SFPD as to Andrus's wherabouts, or the timing of his presumed release from custody.
Update: Here's a photo of Andrus as he was being released from custody Tuesday evening, via the Chronicle. ABC 7 has footage of him being led out of jail by Public Defender Jeff Adachi. It should be noted that the Chronicle continues to say that Andrus is 54 years old, while all other news sources have been going by an updated statement from the SFPD that he is 59 years old.