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

Witness in SOMA hate crime trial threatened, DA says

Pearly Martin (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Pearly Martin (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

A witness who was to testify Thursday (March 30) in the trial against a San Francisco woman accused of anti-gay hate crimes didn’t appear after he was reportedly threatened.

Pearly Martin, 30, is accused of threatening several men with a pocketknife outside Club OMG, 43 Sixth Street, and yelling statements including “faggots” and “I’m gonna kill you, bitch” in an April 2016 incident. Her charges include criminal threats and false imprisonment, and most of the counts carry hate crime enhancements.

Attorneys gave opening statements this week, and Assistant District Attorney Ben Mains started presenting witnesses.

Testimony was set to continue Thursday morning, but Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon sent jurors home after telling them, “Unfortunately, a serious issue has come up that needs to be dealt with” before the trial can go on.

After the jurors left, Mains said that he’d received a voicemail from the witness, who said, “He has been threatened and does not feel safe coming to testify,” and “The individual who threatened him knew he was going to testify today.”

Mains said he would need to investigate in order “to determine who made that threat.” He didn’t say who the witness was but he said the man works with another witness who’d been set to testify in the afternoon.

The trial is set to resume Monday morning. Reardon told jurors before they left that the case, which is expected to take about another week, is “still on schedule.”

Martin, who appeared Thursday with her attorney, John Kaman, has been in custody since she was arrested shortly after the incident. Her bail is set at $300,000.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 30, 2017 @ 3:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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