Murder defendant Antonio Dupree (Photo: SFPD)
San Francisco police have arrested a man for allegedly killing one South of Market area man and trying to kill anotherAntonio Dupree, 36, of San Francisco, was arrested on murder and burglary charges in the death of Gary Mulhearn, 63, Officer Albie Esparza, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman, said today (Thursday, December 4).
Mulhearn, who lived at 25 Essex Street, was found dead Monday, November 24, police reported last week.
[Update Tuesday, December 9]: In a news release issued Tuesday, police said homicide investigators determined Mulhearn “had been murdered during the evening hours of Friday, November 21.” Dupree was arrested Friday, November 28. Esparza said he didn’t know whether Mulhearn or Dupree is gay [End update].
Prosecutors are charging Dupree with murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and residential burglary. The weapon was a belt, according to court records. It will likely be several months before the medical examiner’s office releases publicly the cause of Mulhearn’s death. (A resident of Mulhearn’s building said “the scuttlebutt” among residents is that he’d been strangled. Esparza didn’t respond to a request to confirm that’s how Mulhearn died.)
Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said Dupree, who’s in custody on $10 million bail, had been set for arraignment Wednesday, but the hearing was continued to December 17.
Bastian said Mulhearn was found in his apartment. The incident involving the second victim was separate, he said. He said he couldn’t go into details on whether Dupree or the second victim were also residents of Mulhearn’s building.
It’s “still under investigation” whether Dupree took anything and whether there are other suspects, Bastian said. He noted a residential burglary charge doesn’t necessarily mean something was taken; it can be charged any time a suspect enters a residence intending to commit a felony. He didn’t know whether either of the victims or Dupree is LGBT.
Attorney Joe O’Sullivan represented Dupree in court Wednesday and said he’s likely to be retained in the case.
Dupree “is an extremely diminutive young man,” O’Sullivan said, estimating his height at 5 foot 2 or 5 foot 3.
“He looks like a little kid.”
O’Sullivan doesn’t know if Dupree or either of the victims are gay, and he said he hadn’t yet reviewed police reports in the case.
Based on information from Dupree’s family, though, O’Sullivan said Mulhearn had been “a mentor” to Dupree. He wasn’t sure if they’d lived in the same building.
He said he appeared with Dupree Wednesday after Dupree’s family approached him. O’Sullivan said he often represents people in homicide and gang-related cases and has represented members of Dupree’s extended family.
Dupree “was like a deer in the headlights [Wednesday] in court,” O’Sullivan said.
Assistant District Attorney Todd Barrett is prosecuting the case.
According to court records, Dupree was convicted of arson causing great bodily injury in San Francisco in 1998 and served time in prison. Records also indicate he’s previously been charged with several drug offenses, assault, and other crimes.
O’Sullivan said those charges sound like “standard fare for the city,” and he said he didn’t know anything about them.
“If there’s an arson, I think it was dismissed, and it was a juvenile [case],” he said.
Dupree’s family also told him that “about 10 years ago in San Mateo County, he got a five-year sentence” for robbery, O’Sullivan said.
“I wouldn’t ask for bail … so I don’t care what his criminal history is or not,” he said.
25 Essex Street (Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn)
In recent days, other residents at the building had little information about what had happened, and said Mulhearn had mostly kept to himself.
Scott Nassans, 45, a gay resident of the building who lives across a stairway from Mulhearn’s unit, said he didn’t know him well and had “no idea” what had happened to Mulhearn, whom he’d see him “every once in a while.”
Nassans doesn’t know if Mulhearn, who lived alone, identified as gay.
“He would bring up these young guys to his apartment, but I have no idea what that was about,” Nassans said, adding that the other men appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s.
Nassans, who said he hadn’t known of an arrest being made and didn’t recognize Dupree’s name, said he didn’t know the other men and didn’t recognize them as being other residents of the building.
Some who knew Nassans said that he’d often lend money to people.
About three weeks ago, Nassans said, he’d seen Mulhearn with another man, and Mulhearn had four to five $100 bills on the seat next to him. Nassans said Mulhearn later explained the man had owed him money.
Mulhearn was “very quiet” and he never heard any noise coming from the apartment, Nassans said.
At a small memorial service this morning another resident of Mulhearn’s building said she’d once “heard screaming and yelling” coming from his apartment.
“He had a male guest he couldn’t get rid of, the woman, who didn’t give her name, said, “I had to escort the guy out.” Afterward, she said, Mulhearn told her, “I’m sorry you had to do that.”
The woman, who declined to speak with the Bay Area Reporter, said Mulhearn had “always had a smile on his face.” She said he “always gave people money” and he “wasn’t the type to confront people or ask for it back.”
Another woman at the service, a building staff member who didn’t give her name, described Mulhearn as “very quiet and respectful” and encouraged anyone who needed “support for the things that have transpired” to use the “supportive services” available at the building.
Mindy Talmadge, a San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman, said in an email that a King American ambulance, rather than a fire department vehicle, had responded to 25 Essex when Mulhearn’s body was found. King American requested the police and the medical examiner, Talmadge said. A spokesman for King American didn’t respond to a request for comment.
She referred the B.A.R.’s questions to a supervisor, who hasn’t responded to requests for comment.
Two residents, including Nassans, said Mulhearn is the sixth resident to die since the building opened in December. It wasn’t clear what the causes were.
The building houses the Rene Cazenave Apartments, which according to the Community Housing Partnership website “were developed in cooperation between Community Housing Partnership and BRIDGE Housing. … The project was selected by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA), to develop affordable housing in the new Transbay Redevelopment Area. Rene Cazenave Apartments is the first of several development sites that will serve as a gateway to the SFRA’s vision of a new ‘main street’ along Folsom Street. Community Housing Partnership is the owner and property manager of the site, while Citywide provides on-site support services and counseling.”
The residence “is a mid-rise, eight-story building that includes a total of 120 apartments,” the website says.