SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU/BCN) - Prosecutors revealed a bombshell in a San Francisco courtroom today. They say they have a video of a young woman killing a 71-year-old man over his camera. The woman, 20-year-old Fantasy Decuir, is one of two co-defendants in the case.
KTVU spoke with the victim's sister, Lorrie French, just as she learned prosecutors said they have video showing Decuir was the one who pulled the trigger on Ed French, her brother. At first there was a collective gasp and then silence as the announcement was made.
I just feel my brother would be okay today had the justice system worked. It failed," French said.
The 71-year-old photographer was killed in a brazen robbery and shooting on Twin Peaks. He was trying to capture a Sunday morning sunrise on July 16 just before 8 a.m., sources told KTVU.
Decuir, a San Francisco resident, was charged with robbery and conspiracy on August 3. On August 7 she was charged with homicide, robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a crime. Lamonte Mims, a 19-year-old resident of Patterson, California, 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 said.
Mims made his first court appearance Tuesday. He did not enter a plea. French said if a judge hadn't released him on a gun charge, five days before her brother was shot and killed, he'd still be alive.
"The judge needs to hear this. We hold him as responsible for the murder as we do the murderers," said French. "Because he's the one who allowed the man to go back out on the street."
"It makes me kind of question and wonder if the judicial system is actually working for the people of SF, or are they working for the criminals of SF?" says French's nephew, Joseph Cordero.
Prosecutors said Mims and Decuir, an aspiring rapper, was the one who pulled the trigger and they have the video to prove it.
Witnesses told police that the couple, made off in a late-model Honda Accord with rear-end damage and French's camera, with the red lanyard attached.
"My brother was sitting looking at the city. He loved taking photographs and...senselessly murdered for a camera," said an emotional French.
Sources say Judge Sharon Reardon granted Mim's release four days after being picked up on the gun charge based on what's called a risk assessment. It's a score tabulated by the pretrial diversion program to determine if an inmate can be released.
"There are certain aggravating factors that come into play that we think would warrant a higher score. Had the score come back higher, it quite possibly could have come back no release," said Alex Bastian, a San Francisco District Attorney spokesperson.
A jogger in the area found French unconscious on the ground and began administering CPR. French was bleeding from his upper body. A marked patrol car passing through the area saw him and came to his aid, calling for an ambulance, police said. French died later at the hospital.
French was only about a mile away from his home. Friends say he was likely taking photos for his work as a location manager. He scouted sites for the filming of commercials.
He enjoyed photography on the side. His family said he was a gentle soul, who was a natural teacher, and was "a walking encyclopedia" of knowledge about facts on San Francisco.
The only solace for the family of the victim, is that he was doing something that he loved to do and looking at the city he loved.
"He talks to me every day. I talk to him and he's telling me right now, don't cry," French said of her brother. "I will do whatever I need to do to make sure justice is done and that these true murderers aren't put into society again to harm other peoples' family like they've harmed ours."
Lorrie French said she wanted to thank that jogger who came to her brother's aid that day and all of the first responders who tried to save his life.
Recently a tribute was held for French up at the spot where he was killed.
Mim's arraignment was put over until Friday. Meanwhile, Decuir is in the hospital being treated for an unknown condition.
Judge Donna Hitchens today set bail at $5 million each, over the objections of Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart, who argued for $10 million.
"This is a felony murder case," he said, arguing that the alleged crimes and Mims' prior record justified a higher bail. Prosecutors also moved today to revoke Mims' probation.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi indicated he would be representing Decuir, and attorney Randall Knox was assigned to represent Mims.