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Suspect Appears In Court For SF Castro Nightclub Meetup Murder Case

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James Rickleffs

James Rickleffs (San Francisco Police Dept.)

JEFFREY%20SCHAUB Jeffrey Schaub
Jeffrey Schaub is a Bay Area broadcast news veteran. From 1990 to 201...
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man accused of killing a hairstylist in San Francisco’s Diamond Heights neighborhood in June made his initial appearance in court Thursday to face murder and residential robbery charges.

James Rickleffs, 45, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly killing Steven “Eriq” Escalon, a 28-year-old man who was found bound and gagged at his apartment in the 5000 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard on the evening of June 12, according to police.

Rickleffs did not enter a plea at Thursday afternoon’s hearing and will return to court on Monday for further arraignment and to appoint an attorney. He is being held in jail on no-bail status.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

Prosecutors say Rickleffs met Escalon at 440 Castro, a bar in the city’s Castro District, and then went back to Escalon’s residence early on June 12 after first stopping at an ATM.

Escalon’s roommate came home later that day to find him dead in the apartment, which had been ransacked.

Police said earlier this week that several witnesses had described the suspect who had been seen with Escalon and that one of them identified him as Rickleffs, who was brought in for questioning on Sunday and subsequently arrested.

Items from Escalon’s apartment, including electronics and financial documents, were found in Rickleffs’ possession and investigators also have forensic evidence allegedly linking him to the crime, police said.

Escalon’s Facebook page said that he worked as a cosmetologist at Metamorphosis Salon on Market Street.

San Francisco’s District Attorney, George Gascon, warned people who frequent clubs and bars in the Castro District to be very cautious if they meet a stranger and then take them home.

“There is a lot of risk when you bring people that you don’t know to your home, and we urge people to be very careful. Be very thoughtful. Make sure that you know who you’re bringing home,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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