Parents accused of killing daughter's pimp in San Francisco
In a criminal complaint that has stunned friends and relatives, the San Francisco district attorney's office claims a couple killed their 17-year-old daughter's pimp, a Compton gang member.
Barry Laprell Gilton and Lupe Mercado tried to persuade the teenager to break ties with 22-year-old Calvin Sneed. They sought help from law enforcement to no avail and later added the girl's name to several missing and exploited children registries, according to their lawyers.
And that, their lawyers said, was where they left it.
But prosecutors contend that on the night of May 27, along Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, they tried to kill him and failed.
A second attempt, not far from the couple's home near San Francisco's Candlestick Park, succeeded. Sneed, officials said, was gshot to death in his car on June 4 at 2 a.m. by Gilton, who allegedly fired a .40-caliber weapon from a silver Mercedes-Benz SUV.
"We have substantial evidence to believe that this was a premeditated event," Dist. Atty. George Gascon said Thursday.
Lawyer Eric Safire, who represents Gilton, said: "There is some circumstantial evidence, and there's certainly a motive, but there is no direct evidence that we've been made aware of."
Gilton, 38, and Mercado, 37 — who began dating in middle school and have three younger boys — were deeply concerned for their daughter, who left home about a year ago, Safire said. They had discovered that she was appearing in escort ads, and that she seemed to be working for Sneed.
"They … had come to learn that she was being unduly influenced by this fellow," Safire said. "They encouraged her to stay away, and tried to get help to encourage him to stay away."
Gilton and Mercado, who are scheduled to be arraigned June 20, are being held on $2-million bail apiece. Each faces one count of murder, one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied motor vehicle and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, according to the complaint.
Gilton also faces a charge of possessing a firearm as a felon due to a 1995 drug-related conviction.
-- Lee Romney and Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco