Sex worker confessed to killing man at Crissy Field, feds say

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday December 19, 2023
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A transgender woman is appearing in the San Francisco federal building where she faces second-degree murder charges in the killing of a man at Crissy Field who wanted his money back after a consensual sexual encounter.
A transgender woman is appearing in the San Francisco federal building where she faces second-degree murder charges in the killing of a man at Crissy Field who wanted his money back after a consensual sexual encounter.

A transgender woman working as a sex worker confessed to killing a man at San Francisco's Crissy Field, federal prosecutors state in court documents, though she has pleaded not guilty to homicide charges.

Leion Butler, 20, was kept in custody after a court hearing on December 18. Her next hearing, in the courtroom of San Francisco magistrate Judge Alex G. Tse at the federal courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, is January 12 at 11 a.m.

Butler was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Hamza Walupupu, 32, on November 12 at Crissy Field. A former United States Army airfield and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the location bumps the prosecution up from the state to the federal court system.

'There's no money back'

According to a memorandum in support of keeping Butler in custody, Butler told police in an interview after her arrest that she was working as a sex worker the night of November 12 when Walupupu allegedly approached her.

"The defendant asked the victim whether he wanted a date, and he said yes and that he was looking for 'everything,'" the document states. "The defendant agreed and got into the victim's car. After stopping at the ATM, the defendant wanted to pull over somewhere close, but the victim said he knew a place where they could go to be alone."

That place was Crissy Field. When the pair got there, Butler performed oral sex on Walupupu, prosecutors state.

"Afterwards, the victim said he wanted more, and the defendant told the victim that she was transgender," the document states. "The victim demanded his money back, and the defendant refused. She believed she had earned the money, explaining, 'there's no money back ... I was never giving [the money] back to him.' They argued, and the victim demanded that the defendant get out of his car. The defendant felt disrespected and refused. The defendant explained that if she had gotten out of the car, she would have been 'stranded cold as fuck' and looked 'dumb as fuck.'"

Butler said she felt Walupupu should drive her back to where he'd picked her up.

"After the defendant refused to get out of the car, the victim began getting out of the car, and the defendant shot him," the document states. "The defendant used her own gun that she kept in her purse. She explained that right before she shot him, she saw 'hella different angles and ways on how I'm gonna do it.' After she shot him, the defendant debated what to do for a few minutes and decided to take his car."

Butler drove the car, a 2014 Hyundai Accent, to Hunters Point, where she "parked the victim's car and wiped it down to eliminate fingerprints and DNA."

Butler called her mother, who advised her to destroy evidence, the document states.

"The defendant took — and later disposed of — the victim's backpack because she had looked in it and thought it had her DNA on it," the document stated. "She also disposed of the clothes she was wearing, which had blood on them, and her mother threw away the purse she was carrying. The defendant also gave her gun away to a third party because 'there's a body on [it].'"

Walupupu's body was discovered in the Crissy Field parking lot at 6:25 a.m. November 12, according to an affidavit from FBI Agent Casey Smith.

"The victim was found lying on his back with a significant amount of blood pooled under his head," Smith stated. "The medical examiner later determined the victim suffered from a single gunshot wound to his head. There was also another large pool of blood under the victim's left leg. A bloody tire track was observed leading away from the pool of blood from under the victim's left leg. At the time the victim's body was discovered, there were no other persons or vehicles observed in the area by witnesses."

Three days later, San Francisco Police Department officers happened upon the Hyundai after they got a call that it'd been double parked for three days in Hunters Point. Officers found blood in the vehicle and recovered video footage of the car arriving at the location November 12. The video also showed the driver of a Jeep Commander speaking with the driver of the Hyundai.

Police found through a DMV inquiry that the owner of the Commander is Butler's mother, Smith stated.

"Upon reviewing these materials, I believe that Butler ... is the same person that exited the victim's Hyundai Accent, attempted to wipe away blood and other forensic evidence, and drove off in the Subject Vehicle with an unknown person approximately 20 minutes after the victim's deceased body was found," Smith stated.

Butler was arrested November 20. Mission Local reported the arrest occurred after a pre-dawn raid and involved flash grenades.

Feds won't answer where Butler is

Butler is not in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff's office — which usually holds defendants held in custody in federal cases — according to an online tool to look up people in custody.

According to San Francisco Public Safety News her attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender David Rizk, complained she'd been held by the San Francisco Sheriff's Department in an all-male facility and that Tse ordered the United States Marshals Service to respond to remediate those concerns.

According to an online tool to look up people in custody, Butler is not in San Francisco Sheriff's Department custody. Rizk and the department did not return requests for comment for this report. For its part, the marshals service would neither confirm nor deny in a December 19 phone call if Butler is in its custody. The U.S. attorney's office also did not return a request for comment.

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