by Betty Wang
Photos and new details were revealed yesterday, on the first day of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez’s preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court. The Associated Press reports that Judge Brendan Conroy could rule as early as today to determine whether a murder trial for the Pier 14 killing of Kathryn Steinle should be scheduled.
According to the Examiner, yesterday’s testimony included photos submitted by two witnesses. 32-year-old Maria Morena, one of those witnesses, was drawn away from the Giants game she was watching on TV in the fifth-floor hotel room she was staying in — right across from Pier 14. Morena heard the loud shot and when she observed the scene below her, noticed that most everyone on the scene was gravitating toward the woman shot, while one person, a figure in a black peacoat, was scurrying away from the scene. That’s when she snapped pictures.
The other set of photos presented were taken by a tourist who was at Pier 14 that same day. The same man in the dark peacoat was present in them, and, according to Sgt. Conroy Tam:
“He was sitting in one of the chairs along the pier and swiveling in circles,” Tam said of the suspected shooter, based on the witness’ report.
Among those who testified yesterday were three SFPD sergeants, including Sgt. Tam, Sgt. Anthony Ravano, and Sgt. Nico Discenza. Discenza testified that right before Steinle was shot, she partook in a selfie with her father and friend.
As you may recall, Lopez-Sanchez claimed in a jailhouse interview that he took sleeping pills he found in a dumpster and that the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt, went off shortly thereafter. Initially, he had said that he was shooting at seals on the pier when Steinle was killed.
Sgt. Anthony Ravano testified that Lopez-Sanchez admitted he had fired the gun. Also, he "had given officers a series of different names. [And] When he was brought to the homicide unit for questioning, he fell asleep," according to the Chron.
Lopez-Sanchez’s public defender, Matt Gonzalez, claims that the evidence builds a case for an accidental shooting.
More evidence is expected to be presented in court Wednesday.