Bail set for suspects in fatal construction worker stabbing

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) —Two suspects charged with murder in the stabbing death of a construction worker allegedly also chased a second man through the streets of the Tenderloin after he refused to let them use a restroom and stabbed him several times, a prosecutor said today.

Lizette Maria Cauich, 23, and Oscar Mendez, 43, appeared for the first time in San Francisco Superior Court this afternoon following their
arrest on Friday in connection with the fatal stabbing of Mitzi Campbell, 58, that same day.

Their arraignment was postponed to Thursday, but Judge Charles Crompton set bail at $10 million for Cauich and $5 million for Mendez after prosecutors argued that the two posed a threat to the community.

Assistant District Attorney John Rowlands said Cauich and Mendez, both Los Angeles area residents, have no ties to the Bay Area and had only been in San Francisco for around two weeks when they were arrested, after previously traveling to the Pacific Northwest.

Since their arrest for the June 10 murder, police have linked them to a second attack in the Tenderloin that occurred on May 29.

In that incident, the two are alleged to have approached a man at a construction site at Eddy and Taylor streets around 1:30 p.m. and asked to use a Porta Potty there.

When the man refused, Rowlands said Cauich pulled two knives on him.

The man fended her off with a portable garbage can lid, at which point the suspects and a third man allegedly chased him through the Tenderloin as he tried to reach the police station, Rowlands said.

When they caught him, Cauich allegedly stabbed him twice in the groin and Mendez once in the torso.

“And then Ms. Cauich said something like ‘Die now!'” Rowlands told the court.

The man, who suffered life-threatening injuries, is expected to recover but remains out on disability, prosecutors said.

Members of Campbell’s family, who attended today’s court appearance, gasped at Rowland’s description of the Tenderloin incident.

The attack on Campbell came less than two weeks later.

Campbell, a San Francisco resident, was working at a construction site on Shipley Street, an alley between Harrison and Folsom streets, on Friday morning when she had an argument with a man and a woman there, police said.

She escorted the pair away from the site, but when she didn’t come back right away, her co-workers went looking for her around 9:30 a.m. and found her stabbed, police said.

The co-workers saw the man and woman, later identified as Mendez and Cauich, walking away and tried to stop them. They followed them to the area of Fifth and Folsom Streets, where officers arrived and arrested them.

Campbell was taken to a hospital but died there shortly afterward.

According to a statement issued by Mayor Ed Lee on Friday, Campbell was a 2013 graduate of San Francisco’s CityBuild construction job training program and a member of Laborers Local 261.

Family members said Campbell had one son and one granddaughter.

Jacqueline Battle, Campbell’s sister, described her as sweet and kind.

Campbell was working as a flagger at the construction site, controlling traffic, and family members today questioned why she had been asked to escort Cauich and Mendez out.

“I believe my sister wasn’t a security guard, my sister was a flagger,” Battle said. “It was not her job to walk them out.”

Cauich faces charges including murder, attempted murder, mayhem, assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury, attempted robbery and battery with serious bodily injury.

Mendez’s charges include attempted murder, mayhem, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery with serious injury, carrying a dirk and dagger, possession of a controlled substance, receiving or buying stolen property and giving false information to a police officer. He also has previous felony warrants.

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