San Francisco family fed up with delays in 2011 nightclub brawl homicide case – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The death of Joey Hernandez in a nightclub brawl over a decade ago is believed to be the oldest homicide case opened in San Francisco, but his family say the way the case has been dealt with over the years has been a crime in itself.
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By all accounts, Joey Hernandez had a bright future. The fourth year medical student was appreciated and admired. But on January 9, 2011, he was dancing with friends at Temple, a San Francisco nightclub, when he got caught in the middle of a bar fight.
Hernandez was hit on the head with some sort of object and hit the ground. Two days later he died. The suspect, who was captured on security video, fled and was not arrested until three years later.
Richmond resident Dung Minh Nguyen posted bail and for the past eight years has walked around a free man. The Hernandez family are hopeful that Nguyen can finally be brought to justice soon.
“It’s hard to believe that there is no justice when your brother is killed,” said Joey’s sister Teresa Alexander. “I mean, sure, we want a guilty verdict, but at this point, we just want a trial. “
In an interview on Monday, Joey’s family said the DA’s office had shown no interest in pursuing a trial, referring the case to one prosecutor after another.
“We lost count, honestly,” said Joey’s brother-in-law John Carney. “I think there were ten or more district attorneys who were supposed to try this case, and every six months it comes back to a different person. We’re going to ask them for details, and they have no idea. Clearly not all of them even read the case. They don’t know what’s going on.
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Joey’s niece, Jessica Alexander, had the same experience with prosecutors.
“A lot of times we step in and we ask them, ‘Do you have any updates on this witness or any information on the case? “And they have to go find and see who we’re talking about because they don’t know by chance,” she said.
Today, after 11 years, the case is finally scheduled for a “hearing appeal” on January 18 to set a date for the start of the proceedings. In a statement, DA spokeswoman Rachel Marshall said: “Our office is preparing for the trial in this case, which is currently scheduled for later this month. We look forward to moving this case forward and hope that the court will find us a courtroom for the trial as soon as possible. “
But Hernandez’s family have doubts. They said they had already been privately warned that there could be another delay, possibly for months. And that’s why they speak out publicly.
They said they believed the only way to finally bring Nguyen to justice was to shame the district attorney.
“It’s not about whether this man is going to be convicted? Is he going to jail? is he going to jail? Teresa Alexander said. “We just want to know that my brother’s life mattered and that they are going to make it a priority to do the right thing and have a trial in court.”
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A judge reportedly ordered the prosecutor’s office to begin the trial within 30 days of the trial being called. But even if that happens, the family say they fear the long delay will make it difficult to continue the case, with witnesses having to remember what happened 11 years ago.