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Suspect in slaying of Dodgers fan may be released; evidence lacking

September 27, 2013|By Joseph Serna and Lee Romney
  • Fans observe a moment of silence before the Giants-Dodgers game Thursday night at AT&T Park for a Dodgers fan who was slain nearby late Wednesday.
Fans observe a moment of silence before the Giants-Dodgers game Thursday… (Nhat V. Meyer / MCT )

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco district attorney late Friday said there was not sufficient evidence to charge the 21-year-old Lodi man who was jailed in connection with the fatal stabbing of Dodgers fan Jonathan Denver after a confrontation triggered by team rivalry.

Michael Montgomery was booked into jail here just before 5 p.m. Thursday, after San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr announced he had “implicated himself” during questioning. However, Montgomery’s father, Marty Montgomery, told media outlets his son had phoned him sobbing from police custody to say he had committed the act in self-defense.

Police had detained Montgomery and an 18-year-old man for questioning not long after the Wednesday night post-game slaying, but released the younger man Thursday. Though they had booked Montgomery, they said earlier Friday that they were still eager to speak to two other people who were part of Montgomery’s group, as well as to any witnesses to the fight.

Police were also seeking any video of the incident spurred by a “back and forth” over the Dodgers-Giants rivalry.

The dearth of any independent evidence, however, led Dist. Atty. George Gascon to reject the case just hours after receiving it from police investigators.

In a 6 p.m. statement, Gascon said his office had an obligation to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in lawful self-defense. It is vital for our office to have independent corroboration of the incident in order to meet our ethical obligation to charge this case,” he said.

Though police had “provided us an initial investigation,” Gascon said, “not all witnesses have been interviewed, nor have any independent witnesses of the incident been interviewed. We have requested this and other evidence be collected before we can make an assessment on whether charges should be filed.”

Montgomery was expected to be released from jail as early as Friday night, though a spokesman for Gascon said the timing was the purview of the Sheriff’s Department. A sheriff’s spokeswoman could not be reached for comment after hours.


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Twitter: @josephserna

Twitter: @leeromney

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