The SoCal man arrested in the beating death of an Australian tourist outside a San Francisco hotel was reportedly employed by the establishment to hang some curtains, and claims the admitted attack was self defense.
As previously reported, 33-year-old Matthew Bate, an analytical chemist visiting SF from Darwin, Australia, was killed in a brawl outside the Da Vinci Villa hotel on Van Ness Avenue at around 2 a.m. on Friday, June 2.
Shortly thereafter, police announced the arrest of 34-year-old Hesperia resident David Murillo in Bate's death by way of "severe head trauma," a San Francisco Police Department press release said at the time.
"Based on information and evidence immediately obtained at the scene, officers located and detained a possible suspect" at the Da Vinci Villa, police said. "At the conclusion of an interview with the detainee, it was determined that [Murillo] was responsible for Bate’s murder."
Murillo, who KRON 4 reports "was in San Francisco for work, installing drapes at the hotel," has no criminal record, San Francisco Public Defender Mark Jacobs says.
In court Tuesday, Jacobs said that “Mr. Murillo had no intention to harm him or kill him, especially to kill him,” the Ex reports. “What happened was horrible for [the victim], but also horrible for Mr. Murillo.”
KRON 4 reports that the confrontation "was among six people (3 vs. 3)." Per the Ex, "the fight began when two groups of men came upon one another near or inside the da Vinci Villa hotel."
Jacobs "could not say who instigated the conflict because he has not yet been given access to the police report," the Chron reports, but tells KRON that the punch that allegedly knocked Bate to the ground and caused him to fatally hit his head "was self-defense" and that Bate "fell awkwardly, and the incident could have happened to anyone."
In fact, Jacobs says that Murillo was "unaware that Bate was gravely injured until police knocked on his door at the Da Vinci Villa and detained him for questioning," according to the Chron.
“He was crying, he was in shock,” Jacobs tells the Chron, “He’s a gentle, hardworking man with two little girls.”
Prosecutors disagree, characterizing the punch as an "unprovoked attack."
“It is our belief that the victim was punched in the head when he didn’t see the punch coming,” a District Attorney's office spokesperson says.
In court Tuesday, the charges against Murillo were reduced to involuntary manslaughter, assault, and battery. He pled not guilty, and is currently being held on $100.000 bail. He is expected return to court for a preliminary hearing next week.