The 23-year-old victim’s horrible murder was captured on video.
Above we see a Google Street View image of the Market Street SRO the Donnelly Hotel (the adjacent Dollar Store has since reopened as Moe Greens dispensary). That hotel may have some notoriety coming, as police arrested 47-year-old resident Gerald Rowe on Friday.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Rowe has been charged with murder, torture, kidnapping, and a slew of other offenses after allegedly torturing, drugging, and hanging 23-year-old George Randall-Saldivar, dismembering his body, cramming his remains into a suitcase, and then dumping to body in San Francisco Bay.
NBC Bay Area spoke to some people who knew Rowe, who described him as "a little strange." They didn’t know the half of it.
Rowe’s motives are still unknown, and charges filed by prosecutors say there is another unnamed co-conspirator. Police say the murder itself took place between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, and that they recovered video of the homicide from Rowe’s apartment building.
The video apparently shows consensual sex between the three, but the murder that allegedly followed is gruesome beyond words. Prosecutors say Saldivar was tied to a chair, drugged, and had a bag placed over his head.
“The unnamed co-conspirator and defendant Rowe make a noose and put the noose over the victim’s neck,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart says in filings. “The rope is then elevated over an unknown object in the room by defendant Rowe and the unnamed co-conspirator.”
After the murder, prosecutors say the unnamed co-conspirator “obtains a suitcase from the closet and both place victim inside the suitcase and eventually seal the suitcase in plastic.” Later, “Defendant Rowe then eats junk food and plays his guitar over the suitcase,” which then sits for a day as the alleged killers “go about their business.”
Saldivar’s body was recovered on Feb. 18 at Pier 39.
Weirdly, this unspeakable murder has a backstory documented in the local LGBT press.
Back in 2006, the Bay Area Reporter profiled a boy named George Randall-Saldivar who was then an adorable 10-year-old recently adopted by two gay fathers — an unusual arrangement before gay marriage was legalized, and staunchly opposed by the Catholic Church. "I have two gay parents and they love each other," said a pint-sized Randall-Saldivar at the time. "I love them."
SFist has not yet confirmed if this is the same Randall-Saldivar, but his age at the time would match up. A Facebook profile under that name shows a person in his twenties who attended Mission High School and City College.