Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

SF hate crime defendant out on bail

One of two San Francisco men facing charges for an anti-gay hate crime that allegedly happened Sunday, February 13 is out on bail.

A profile photo posted to Antonio Herico's Facebook page in 2010

Antonio Herico’s Facebook wall bears the message, “I’m back… But I gotta wash off five days worth of funk… It feels good to be home. What ever y’all might have heard, I love all people, races, genders and all sexual preferences what ever they may be. Were all children of god.” The message was posted late Thursday  night (February 17). Herico hasn’t responded to an interview request sent through Facebook.

Eileen Hirst, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said that Herico was released from custody just after 9 p.m. Thursday. She couldn’t say how much money had been paid for his release.

Herico and Pio Alexander Garcia, both 21, pleaded not guilty to felony anti-gay hate crime charges from the alleged attack Sunday in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. Hirst said that Garcia remains in custody.

The District Attorney’s office charged the men on Wednesday, February 16, with assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and burglary. Garcia is also charged with felony vandalism. They each had been in San Francisco County jail on $115,000 bail.

The DA’s office alleges that the men assaulted and burglarized the owner of a business on the 2200 block of Market Street based on their perception of his sexual orientation.

The victim’s name hasn’t been confirmed.

According to police, Herico and Garcia attacked the 51-year-old victim after he asked them to leave his property at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday. The men refused and got into an argument that escalated to a physical attack with “homophobic epithets,” police said.

Neither the police nor the DA’s office have provided details of what exactly Herico and Garcia allegedly said to the victim who, according to police, suffered a non-life-threatening head injury.

Angelina Casolla, who said she knows Herico, said she had no idea what happened Sunday, “I just know he got into some trouble.”

Casolla, 25, said that she and Herico aren’t close, but “I know he doesn’t have a problem with gay people at all. We all grew up in San Francisco.”

Seth Steward, a spokesman for the DA’s office, said that the men are being charged with burglary because “they went in to hurt somebody and/or steal something.” He said the vandalism charge was based on the destruction of glassware in the store.

Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said the men took off on foot after the alleged attack, but the police were called and “several witnesses were able to identify the suspects.”

The preliminary hearing is set to begin Wednesday, March 2, in San Francisco Superior Court. Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang is prosecuting the case.

Through a spokeswoman, Tiffany Tisen, who’s representing Herico, declined an interview request since they’d just received the case.

A representative for Garcia couldn’t be reached for comment.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 18, 2011 @ 1:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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