Alternate headline: “Lifetime Network executive gets idea for greatest TV movie ever.”
The couple tried to persuade the teenager to break ties with 22-year-old Calvin Sneed. They sought help from law enforcement — to no avail — and later added the girl to several missing and exploited children registries, according to their lawyers. And that, their lawyers said, was where they left it…
In a criminal complaint that has stunned the couple’s friends and relatives, the San Francisco district attorney’s office said Gilton and Mercado plotted to kill Sneed. One attempt on the night of May 27, along Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, failed. A second, not far from the couple’s home near San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, succeeded…
Prosecutors contend the couple tracked Sneed to North Hollywood on May 27 and fired a 9-millimeter handgun at him as he sat in a car, “striking him.”…
The 17-year-old returned with Sneed to the Bay Area on the weekend of June 2 to visit an ailing relative, Safire said. She argued with her parents, who tried unsuccessfully to get Sneed to leave.
No self-defense claim available here, obviously, but the parents have two things going for them. One: Sneed was allegedly a gang member and the target of a drive-by shooting last year, which might provide a sympathetic jury with an excuse to find mom and dad not guilty. Obviously there was more than one person out there who wanted him dead. Maybe it was a gangster who did him in? Two: According to the parents’ lawyer, they begged the cops for help to no avail. Left with no legal remedies, what were they supposed to do?
The couple have been together since middle school and live with their three other children in San Francisco. Their daughter disappeared some time ago and after searching for her, Gilton and Mercado discovered that she was turning tricks and that Sneed was her pimp, their attorneys said.
“They had gone out to local police agencies, agencies in Southern California – they had even tried talking to national organizations,” said Eric Safire, Gilton’s attorney. “Every place they turned to turned them away.”
Is that how the cops decided that mom and dad were the prime suspects, because they’d coincidentally been asking for help in stopping Sneed? Or is it because … their daughter told the cops something incriminating? A tantalizing tidbit:
On June 4, Sneed was in San Francisco, driving his Toyota Camry at Meade and LeConte avenues at 2 a.m., when someone – prosecutors say it was Gilton – shot him with a .40-caliber handgun. Sneed crashed into a parked car and died a short time later at San Francisco General Hospital.
A few hours later, police questioned the girl at the Bayview Station, Safire said. On Saturday, her parents were arrested.
I can only assume that they have some hard evidence against the parents (ballistics, presumably) or else they wouldn’t have charged them. Even in California, asking a jury to send mom and dad away because they were desperate to free their little girl from a social parasite is a mighty heavy lift.
Exit question: Assuming they’re convicted, what’s the sentence?