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2 charged in Twin Peaks killing

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Lamonte Mims. Photo: Courtesy SFPD
Lamonte Mims. Photo: Courtesy SFPD  

Two people have been charged in the fatal July shooting of a gay San Francisco man at Twin Peaks.

Fantasy Decuir, 20, of San Francisco, and Lamonte Mims, 19, of Patterson, California, who were arrested last week in another case, both face murder and other charges in the death of Edward French, 71.

Prosecutors said Decuir was the shooter. Both she and Mims are in custody on $5 million bail.

Mims had been released from custody in a different case just before French's shooting.

Police said shortly after the shooting that at about 7:50 a.m. Sunday, July 16, a man later identified as French was in the Twin Peaks lookout area when a man and a woman approached him on foot. 

"Witnesses reported a single gunshot," police said. "The suspects ran to a vehicle and fled the scene. A jogger in the area administered CPR to the victim and a marked SFPD unit responding to the scene summoned medical aid. The victim was transported to a hospital where he was unfortunately pronounced deceased."

In a news release this week, police said that at about 10:19 a.m. on July 28, a 53-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were "robbed of their camera and wallet at gunpoint" at St. Mary's Cathedral Square, which is at Geary Boulevard and Gough Street.

Investigators from Northern police station "developed information that led to the identity of the suspects in the St. Mary's robbery," and along with homicide unit investigators, they "developed additional information that identified the suspects" in French's killing as the same suspects in the St. Mary's robbery, police said.

Last Thursday, August 3, Decuir was charged with robbery and conspiracy. Mims was charged with robbery, conspiracy, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, and committing an offense while out on bail or while released on his own recognizance from a prior offense, police stated.

Then, on Monday, August 7, Decuir was charged with homicide, robbery, and use of a firearm in commission of a crime, police said, while Mims was booked for homicide, robbery, and being a principal of a crime and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

In court Tuesday, August 8, Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart said Decuir "is the shooter caught on video," and Mims has admitted to police that he robbed French. (Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the DA's office, later said prosecutors think that Mims was "aiding or abetting" Decuir.")

Swart said that Decuir is in an East Bay hospital. Her condition and the reason why she's been hospitalized weren't disclosed. San Francisco Sheriff's Department records show she was transported to jail some time after Tuesday's hearing.

After retired Superior Court Judge Donna Hitchens set bail for Decuir and Mims at $5 million apiece, Swart told her they should each be held on $10 million bail. He called the lower amounts "an insult" and said it was over prosecutors' "vehement objections."

No pleas in French's shooting were entered Tuesday, and their arraignment was continued to Friday, August 11.


Fantasy Decuir. Photo: Courtesy SFPD

July release

In July, a judge had released Mims in another case. Bastian said that case was related to Mims' charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and having his misdemeanor probation revoked after being convicted of receiving stolen property. He was also on felony probation from a San Mateo County case.

Bastian said that Mims had been freed after the city's Pretrial Diversion Project had done an assessment and suggested that Mims be released "with certain conditions."

"We have a disagreement with how that assessment was calculated," said Bastian, and the DA's office is talking to the pretrial diversion office about how the agency scores risk assessments.

However, he said, "The final arbiter and decider of custodial status is the judge."

A call to the pretrial diversion office wasn't returned.

Court records indicate that in November, Mims was charged with stealing a car, several counts of burglary and buying or receiving stolen property, conspiring to commit a crime, giving false information to a police officer, and possessing burglary tools. He pleaded not guilty to most of the charges but pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of receiving known stolen property.

Bastian said that Mims had been accused in "a theft-related incident in the Twin Peaks area." Swart said in court that Mims had been ordered to stay away from the area.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who's representing Decuir, requested discovery in the case Tuesday and wasn't available for comment immediately after court.

Private attorney Randy Knox, who's representing Mims, said outside the courtroom that he didn't yet know many details about the case.

"It would be irresponsible for me to say anything at this point," he said. "There's enough suffering to go around already."

Mims, who appeared in court Tuesday, declined an interview request from the Bay Area Reporter earlier in the day.

Susannah Greason Robbins, executive director of the city's Film Commission, said in an email to the B.A.R. shortly after French's killing that he'd "worked as a location manager for more than 40 years in San Francisco and the Bay Area, finding and photographing our beautiful treasures."

Greason Robbins stated, "As a result of Ed's creative eye, many of these have been showcased in numerous commercials over the many years. He mentored numerous location assistants and shared with them his eye for beauty, his wry wit, and his ability to work with all types of people and personalities. The film community and Film SF mourn the loss of Ed. He will be greatly missed."

George Slack, a longtime friend of French's who attended Tuesday's hearing, said, "Clearly, this is upsetting to all his friends and family."

Several people came to court in support of Decuir but declined to comment.



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