San Francisco Prosecutors Reveal That Murder of Photographer at Twin Peaks Was Caught on Video - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco Prosecutors Reveal That Murder of Photographer at Twin Peaks Was Caught on Video

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    A man charged with killing a photographer on Twin Peaks had been released from jail just days before the July shooting – without having to post bail on a firearms-related charge. This, despite his involvement in two prior burglary cases. The victim’s family says Edward French paid the price for the justice system’s failure. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017)

    The July shooting death of a 71-year-old photographer on Twin Peaks was caught on video, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

    Lamonte Mims, 19, is charged with murder, robbery and conspiracy in the July 16 shooting death of Edward French at the popular lookout. Fantasy Decuir, 20, is also charged in the fatal attack. 

    A San Francisco judge on Tuesay set bail at $5 million each for Mims and Decuir — despite the prosecutor’s objection.

    “This is a felony murder case,” argued Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart in pressing for each suspect to be held on $10 million bail.

    Swart said that Decuir, whose actions were captured on camera, was the shooter. Mims may have admitted to robbing French's camera while being questioned by police, he said.

    “I think it’s an insult to set bail at $5 million at this time,” Swart said. 

    Court records reviewed by NBC Bay Area show that Mims was arrested in San Francisco on July 4 on suspicion of possessing a 9 mm Ruger and a .38 special handgun.

    On July 7, he was formally charged and on July 11, he appeared in a San Francisco court.

    A judge granted Mims a release as part of an “assertive case management” program overseen by the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project. The program requires defendants to call in and agree to mental or drug supervision, if requested by the court, but does not require that they post bail as an assurance that they will appear in court.

    A spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney said that George Gascon doesn’t agree with the way the risk assessments are calculated. However, the prosecutor didn’t argue for or against Mim’s release. This, despite the fact that Mims had been involved in two prior burglary cases.

    In July 2016, Mims pleaded no contest to felony auto burglary and was given three years’ probation out of San Mateo County.

    In November, Mims was arrested again. This time in San Francisco, for a string of alleged auto burglaries around Twin Peaks in which three cars were targeted. He was also charged with receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

    As a result, San Mateo County authorities revoked Mims' probation in January 2017.

    In March, a San Francisco judge granted him a 90-day suspended sentence and placed him on probation for 18 months. The charges were reduced to misdemeanors.

    The victim's family said on Tuesday that French paid the price for the justice system's shortcomings.

    "If it wasn’t for the justice system failing, my uncle would still be here with us today," said Joseph Cordero, his great grand nephew.

    Prosecutors on Tuesday moved to revoke the misdemeanor probation that he was granted in March related to the burglaries around Twin Peaks. San Mateo County prosecutors did not make a similar motion.

    Outside court, Mims’ attorney, Randy Knox, said he had not read the documentation in support of the charges and declined to comment. 

    The arraignments for Decuir and Mims have been postponed to Friday.

    NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews contributed to this report.

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