San Francisco

Father Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy, Acquitted of Killing Daughter's Alleged Pimp

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A San Francisco man whose daughter's alleged pimp was murdered eight years ago was convicted in federal court Tuesday of racketeering conspiracy but was acquitted of the murder.

Barry Gilton, 46, was convicted by a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco of participating in a racketeering conspiracy conducted by a gang known as the Central Divisadero Players.

He was accused, but acquitted, of participating in the murder in aid of racketeering of Calvin Sneed, 22, of Compton, in San Francisco on June 4, 2012. Sneed allegedly had pimped the then-17-year-old daughter of Gilton and Lupe Mercado in Southern California.

Mercado, 45, was also acquitted of the murder, but was convicted in the same trial of being an accessory after the fact to the murder by helping to hinder the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators. She was not accused of participating in the racketeering conspiracy.

Sneed was killed in a drive-by shooting shortly before 2 a.m. as he was driving near the parents' Bayview District home on his way to pick up the girl, who had returned to her parents' home.

Gilton faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison and Mercado could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Their sentencing date has not been set.

Sarah Potter, a lawyer for Mercado, said her client has a motion for acquittal pending before Orrick. If that motion is denied, Mercado will appeal the verdict.

Nine other defendants who were alleged to have been members of the gang have previously been convicted and sentenced.

Two defendants who pleaded guilty to the racketeering charge admitted during their pleas to participating in Sneed's murder.

They were Antonio Gilton, 33, a cousin of Barry Gilton, and Alfonso Williams, 42. They were sentenced by Orrick last year to 22 and 25 years in prison respectively.

Potter said Mercado's alleged action in being an accessory after the fact was allegedly misleading police in an interview after she was arrested on June 9, 2012.

Mercado pleaded not guilty to that charge. In addition, her motion for acquittal contends the federal charges against her should be dismissed because she had no connection to the alleged federal crime of racketeering.

"The evidence shows that everyone who was allegedly involved in this crime - and especially Ms. Mercado - was motivated solely by personal aims to prevent the exploitation of Ms. Mercado's minor daughter," the acquittal motion argues.

Tony Tamburello, another lawyer for Mercado, said Barry Gilton and Lupe Mercado are longtime partners who had four children together.

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