Barry Gilton and Lupe Mercado, longtime couple residents of San Francisco and proud parents of four, were desperate when it came to their 17-year-old daughter after she refused to leave a life of prostitution and return home. So, they shot the pimp down in cold blood, supposedly.
Gilton, accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Calvin Sneed, could face a life sentence. His girlfriend, Mercado, faces a 25 years-to-life sentence.
According to San Francisco Chronicle, when the couple failed to convince their daughter to leave Sneed on her own, they began stalking him around the state. After their first attempt to get him didn’t yield any results, they finally killed him near Candlestick Park.
The defense attorney for Gilton says that, at best, the evidence is circumstantial. He claims that Sneed was a known gang member, and could have been shot by a rival gang.
Eric Safire, Gilton’s attorney said, “The evidence that they perpetrated the act is very slim—there’s some circumstantial evidence and they have a motive.” Officials haven’t presented all of their evidence but Safire says all they have is a “video a car similar to [one of Gilton's] family member’s was seen on the night of the murder.”
He adds, “There’s no weapon, and there’s no eyewitness.” ”
What we do know is that the victim is a known gang member, he was out at 2 a.m. in a high crime area—I can only presume he was engaged in his normal and customary [pimping] activities. He was subject to gang violence,” says Gilton’s attorney.
Although the District Attorney’s office has not responded, one spokesman insisted that they have more than “circumstantial evidence.” He responds, “San Francisco police have thoroughly investigated this case. We would not charge a case unless we had a good-faith basis that we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Safire, Gilton’s attorney, does not deny that the family had a motive, “There’s no doubt the family wanted their daughter to stop seeing Sneed.” The family also called local police departments and tried to put her name on a national missing persons list.
Although the family did reach out in normal channels to seek assistance, it appears that there were budget cuts and those kind of responses are very expensive!
Gilton’s daughter was not with Sneed at the time of the shooting, but evidence supports that she was on the phone with him and close by at the time. The Chronicle reports that Sneed was in a drive by shooting on May 27 in North Hollywood. Officials believe that the shooter was either Gilton or Mercado, linking them to the attempted murder. A week later, he was killed near Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Safire maintains Gilton’s innocence, but adds that any parent can identify with what the family was going through.
Finally he adds that the daughter was in a “emotional crisis” and the parents felt “she was non-communicative.” “So far, the the responses in the newspaper have been 90 percent positive. I like our chances with a jury,” Safire concludes.
Although evidence can not justifiably connect Gilton and Mercado to Sneed’s murder, do you think they are responsible?
Which direction do you think the couple’s case should head?
Let me know in your comments below!