As the trio of drifters accused of killing a Marin hiker and a Golden Gate Park backpacker made their first court appearance, some San Francisco residents are telling police that the suspects represent a larger issue in the area.
You know the backstory: Sean Michael Angold, Lila Scott Alligood, and Morrison Haze Lampley allegedly killed and robbed 23-year-old Canadian woman Audrey Carey on October 3 in Golden Gate Park, then shot and killed 67-year-old Steve Carter on October 5. Carter's car, which the three had allegedly stolen, was tracked to Portland, where the trio were arrested last week.
All three of the suspects were booked into Marin County jail on Monday, and are expected to be arraigned in Marin County Superior Court today. They will be tried for both crimes in Marin, likely because, the Chron reports, Marin was "working the case first."
It was the Marin sheriff's department that found Carter's car in Portland, and it was only after the three were detained that San Francisco police connected them to Carey's slaying.
In the criminal complaint filed in Marin court yesterday, prosecutors say that it was Lampley who pulled the trigger on Carter (and, presumably, his dog). You can read the full complaint here.
According to SFPD Commander Toney Chaplin, the same gun was used to kill both Carter and Carey. The trio had the weapon in their possession when they were detained, police say.
How they obtained the weapon is just as troubling as, well, every single other aspect of this case. Police said last week that it was stolen from a lockbox inside an "unlocked vehicle" in the Fisherman's Wharf area on September 30 or October 1. But here it gets even odder, as late yesterday the Chron reported that the theft victim waited an awfully long time to report the crime.
Chaplin tells the Chron that:
The gun owner parked his truck overnight Sept. 30 in a residential area just west of Fisherman’s Wharf. He left the truck unlocked, with the loaded Smith & Wesson inside a locked case in a bag. Ammunition was also stored there.
The owner told police he discovered the break-in about 4:45 a.m. Oct. 1. But for reasons that aren’t quite clear, he waited until after 4 p.m. that afternoon to file a report at Central Station.
Chaplin said officers immediately scouted the area to see what video surveillance might be available. They also put out a bulletin for the stolen gun to other law enforcement agencies.
Of course, it wasn't until the three suspects were arrested in Portland that that gun was found.
Meanwhile, a Chronicle report last week alleged that even among Haight Street's often-challenging population, the three suspects stood out as aggressive and troubled. The issues with Haight's street population, as well as safety concerns following Carey's slaying, were the focus of a community meeting at SFPD's Park Station last night, with the Buena Vista Neighbors group saying that "These violent crimes are not isolated incidents in our neighborhood, but merely the inevitable result of what happens when you provide drug dealers, burglars, and gangs with a safe heaven and get-out-of-jail free card."
At Tuesday's jam packed meeting, police were confronted by frustrated area residents who said that when they contact SFPD with their concerns over transients, police say "there nothing we can do." Here's CBS5's report from the event:
Back in Marin County, however, prosecutors seem prepared to bring the full weight of the law down on the three suspects who allegedly killed Carey and Carter. Today all three will be charged with robbery, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, animal cruelty (for shooting Carter's dog), and multiple murder, lying in wait and committing murder in the course of a robbery. Those last three charges make for something called "special-circumstance murder," which means all three will be eligible for the death penalty.
NBC Bay Area reports that when the trio appeared in court today, all three had "their heads shaved" and "did not look at the judge or make eye contact at each other."
They did not enter pleas today, and the arraignment was ultimately postponed until October 26 "to give Angold and Alligold a chance to find defense attorneys."
A public defender will represent Lampley, NBC reports.
According to the Associated Press, Marin District Attorney Edward Berberian has yet to decide if they'll pursue death, saying that his office will undergo a "detailed review process" before making that determination.
See all coverage of the Steve Carter and Audrey Carey slayings here