SAN FRANCISCO -- Four of the five people charged in connection with a mysterious and planned attack that left a man dead and a woman clinging to life pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
The pleas are in the murder case that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said reads like a Hollywood murder mystery and includes a killing checklist of gloves, a thick sharp razor, liquid bleach, bags and towels.
"The facts of this case read like a movie script and are very disturbing," Gascón said Wednesday in a statement. "It is important for the public to know that this was not a random act as the victims and defendants knew one another..."
The criminal charges against four women and a man come three days after Stephen Reid, 26, and an 18-year-old woman were found bound and gagged in the street at 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the 900 block of Brussels Street in San Francisco's Portola neighborhood, police said.
Reid, who had been shot in the neck, died after he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. The woman was badly beaten and at first she was not expected to live. She remains hospitalized in critical condition and is now expected to survive, authorities said Wednesday. Her name has not been released.
A motive is not yet known.
Three of the defendants, Heather Leach, 24, of Hercules, Montrail Brackens, 21, of Oakland and Vincent Bell, 31, of Hercules, were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felony assault and conspiracy to commit assault. Bell was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. Leach stands accused of writing the murder checklist, authorities said.
Additionally, Tyler Miller, 19, of Hercules, and Maryann Manalastas, 22, of Oakland were charged with accessory to murder and conspiracy to destroy evidence. All, except Miller, were arraigned Wednesday. Miller posted $15,000 bail and is set to be arraigned Friday. The other four remain in custody on bail amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million.
Another woman, Maelene Lintz, 32, had initially been arrested on suspicion of murder but her case was discharged pending further investigation, authorities said.
San Francisco District Attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian late Wednesday confirmed information in the criminal complaint that was signed by police Wednesday.
The complaint says Brackens and Bell entered a home in the 3700 block of San Bruno Ave. in San Francisco with a handguns and assaulted Reid and the woman.
Leach and Manalastas bound and gagged them and someone stuffed a sock in the woman's mouth and then the suspects put the victim in a GMC Yukon, according to the complaint.
Reid, at some point, was shot in the neck. The suspects then dumped the two on Brussels Street, police said. A motorist spotted the pair and called police.
On Monday, the suspects destroyed evidence in the Yukon by spraying cleaning fluid and removing a blood-stained carpet and foam padding from the vehicle, the complaint says.
Not all attorneys were available for comment Wednesday, but Bell's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Stephen Olmo, said his client "is adamant that he did not commit this crime." Manalastas' attorney, Daniel Byrne, also defended his client, who could be charged later with murder, saying there is nothing in the complaint to indicate that she committed murder.
In the 48 hours after the killing, police investigators developed information, they won't say exactly what, that led them to a condominium at 9 Pinnacle Court in Hercules, where they made contact with the suspects and took them to San Francisco's Hall of Justice for questioning. A woman at the residence late Tuesday declined to speak on the "advice of her attorney."
The case remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information should call Sgt. Scott Warnke, Inspectors Daniel Dedet or Robert Velarde at the homicide unit at 415-553-1145.