SAN FRANCISCO – A San Francisco couple accused of shooting and killing a man they suspected of pimping and beating their 17-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty Friday.
Barry Gilton, 38, and his girlfriend, Lupe Mercado, 37, are facing a murder charge in the death of Calvin Sneed.
The 22-year-old Sneed was shot in his car on June 4 near the couple's home.
According to authorities, the couple plotted to kill Sneed after they suspected he was pimping their daughter and were unable to get her back.
They traveled to North Hollywood eight days before the fatal shooting, and one of them fired at Sneed's Toyota Camry, authorities say. Sneed survived that attack with minor injuries.
The couple's attorneys say Sneed had many enemies, and their clients did not shoot him.
"There are many people who had a motive to do harm to him," Tony Tamburello, Mercado's attorney was quoted as saying in the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/LHeH1y). "We feel like our clients are being unfairly targeted."
Tamburello said Sneed began beating and pimping the girl after meeting her in Los Angeles six months ago.
The girl refused her parents' pleas to come home, according to Eric Safire, Gilton's attorney. The couple also filed a missing persons and abuse report with San Francisco police, he said.
Gilton, a San Francisco public transit driver who is on disability, and Mercado are each being held in lieu of $2 million bail. They were ordered to return to court Monday to set a date for their preliminary hearing.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com