SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A teenage boy accused of fatally shooting another teen in San Francisco’s Silver Terrace neighborhood last month pleaded not guilty to murder charges in juvenile court Wednesday.
The 15-year-old boy is accused of shooting Andy Zeng, 16, a Thurgood Marshall Academic High School sophomore whose body was found by police at 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, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted arson and use of an incendiary device.
His attorney, Tony Tamburello, has said that the boy thought the gun was unloaded and that he didn’t mean to shoot his friend.
An 18-year-old man, Jimmy Lei, has also been charged in connection with Zeng’s death.
Lei was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact, as well as attempted arson and use of an incendiary device—charges that stemmed from events that occurred after Zeng was shot.
Police had found Zeng’s body partially wrapped in black garbage bags after responding to two 911 calls from people reporting a gas smell in the area, prosecutor Omid Talai said at Lei’s arraignment last month, at which Lei pleaded not guilty.
The landlord of the home where the body was found pointed investigators to the 15-year-old’s father, who said 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 bring 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 the garbage bags but it didn’t fit, so Lei allegedly recommended cutting the body in half and handed the 15-year-old a butcher knife.
According to Talai, the teen refused so Lei allegedly recommended trying to break Zeng’s legs before they decided to pour gasoline on the body to try to dispose of the evidence.
Zeng’s parents and the father of the 15-year-old were at Wednesday morning’s arraignment hearing at the Youth Guidance Center.
He was being held in juvenile hall on a no-bail status, and was scheduled to return to court June 2 for a status hearing.
Zeng’s family has set up a donation fund in the memory of the death of their only son.
Anyone wishing to donate is encouraged to contact Cathay Bank and mention the account titled “Andy Zeng – APACC.”
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