The defense attorney for a teenager accused of fatally shooting a 16-year-old boy at a home in San Francisco’s Silver Terrace neighborhood earlier this month said today that his client thought the gun was unloaded.The defendant, a 15-year-old boy, has been charged with murder for the death of Andy Zeng, a Thurgood Marshall Academic High School sophomore whose body was found by police in a home in the 2100 block of Quesada Avenue early the morning of April 10.
The teen, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, made his second appearance in juvenile court today but has yet to enter a plea.Four teens were originally arrested in connection with Zeng’s death, but only two have been charged – the 15-year-old with murder and 18-year-old Jimmy Lei with being an accessory to murder after the fact.Both were also charged with attempted arson and the use of an incendiary device – charges that stemmed from events that occurred after Zeng’s death.
At Lei’s arraignment hearing last week, where Lei pleaded not guilty, Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai said that on April 10, police responded to two 911 calls reporting a gas smell in the area.Officers found Zeng in the home, partially wrapped in black garbage bags, Talai said.The landlord of the home where Zeng was found pointed investigators to the 15-year-old’s father, who told them his son had admitted to killing someone, Talai said.
The teen was taken into custody and allegedly described to police how he had accidentally shot Zeng in the back of the head with a .22-caliber revolver, according to Talai.The teen said he called Lei, who said he would help dispose of the body by bringing over three or four people and equipment such as latex gloves and gasoline, Talai said.Talai said the group tried to put Zeng’s body in garbage bags but it wouldn’t fit, so Lei allegedly recommended cutting the body in half and handed the 15-year-old a butcher knife.
The teen refused, so Lei allegedly recommended breaking Zeng’s legs before they decided to pour gas on the body to try to dispose of the evidence, according to Talai.The 15-year-old, who District Attorney George Gascon said will not be tried as an adult, was set to be arraigned in juvenile court this morning, but the hearing was continued to May 11.
Outside of court, the teen’s attorney, Tony Tamburello, said he thinks the murder charge will likely be reduced to a lesser charge because “there was no malice or premeditation” involving Zeng’s death.Zeng “was his good friend, they hung out together a lot,” Tamburello said. “He is extremely sorry, and expressed remorse” about what happened.
“Zeng’s parents were at today’s hearing, and are planning to hold a news conference Thursday to talk about the death of their only son.His funeral is being held Saturday at 1123 Sutter St. in San Francisco.Anyone wishing to donate to the family is encouraged to contact Cathay Bank and mention the account titled “Andy Zeng – APACC.”
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