OAKLAND — Four people will stand trial in a botched murder-for-hire plot involving a pimp, a hit woman and a love triangle the ended with two women dead.
Adriana Falcon, 24, is accused of being at the center of it all, and is charged with two counts of murder and conspiracy. One count is for the death of Coshious Frazier, 27, who was shot at 1 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2016, in Oakland and later died of her injuries; the other count is for Lisa Williams, 21, who was fatally shot Dec. 7, 2016, in the 800 block of South Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.
Falcon is accused of hiring Frazier to kill Williams on Nov. 11 or 12, 2016, and had indicated she was going to pay Frazier $5,000 to carry out the killing. Falcon had a violent feud with a San Francisco pimp; Williams worked with the pimp and was his girlfriend, authorities say.
Falcon, along with co-defendants Mercedes Morgan, Julio Garcia and Anthony Montoya, drove Frazier from Oakland to San Francisco to shoot Williams. But, Frazier failed to kill Williams, and the group got into an argument over money when Frazier still wanted to get paid, according to the prosecution.
After the fight, Falcon and Montoya allegedly shot Frazier at her home in the 1700 block of Pleasant Valley Avenue in Oakland on Nov. 12, 2016. Morgan then drove them away. Both Falcon and Montoya, 24, are charged with her murder.
According to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, when Falcon and Montoya returned to the car after allegedly shooting Frazier, Morgan asked them, “Did you kill the bitch?” A key witness, who was 13 at the time and present in the car, told police that Falcon paid her $200 to keep quiet.
Police were able to ask Frazier before she died who shot her. Caught on a police body camera, she answered: “Mercedes’ girlfriend.” Mercedes Morgan and Falcon were dating.
Morgan is said to have had sexual relations with the pimp, who was also Williams’ boyfriend, according to details that emerged at the preliminary hearing. There also were allegations from witnesses who police interviewed that Falcon had also allegedly been shot in the leg by the pimp at some point in San Francisco, and that Falcon had shot at Williams’ home in Vallejo.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney John Ullom suggested in his arguments Friday that the group also wanted to enact violence on the pimp.
After Williams was killed, text messages were exchanged within the group about a candlelight vigil to be held in her honor. Morgan allegedly texted “LOL (laugh out loud) this bitch is gone.” Then there was a reference from someone in the group that they needed “hammers,” a slang term for guns, and that they needed to attend the vigil, because the pimp was going to be there.
Garcia, 22, also is charged with the murder of Williams, and is accused of being the shooter. Witnesses described the suspect vehicle parking, then the shooter getting out of the passenger side, chasing Williams and fatally shooting her, according to a probable cause statement by San Francisco police Sgt. Jon Kasper.
Cell tower records showed that Falcon was in the area where Williams was killed just 12 minutes before the shooting, according to court documents. After Williams was killed, cell tower records tracked Falcon’s phone and Garcia’s phone together from San Francisco to San Leandro.
One of the bullet casings found at the murder scene was tested and matched Garcia’s DNA, police said. Garcia also matched the description of the suspect given by witnesses.
Ernie Castillo, the defense attorney for Falcon, suggested the DNA could have been transferred in evidence gathering. He also argued that there weren’t any witnesses who identified Falcon in that car before Williams’ fatal shooting. In general, he said there was no evidence connecting his client to the San Francisco homicide.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson noted that although the DNA evidence found on the bullet casings was not much, it was also “very strong” evidence at the same time, he said.
Castillo also argued there was no evidence that Frazier was killed in an attempt to keep her quiet about the first botched attempt to kill Williams. Although the judge agreed, he said there were other factors to hold the defendants to the conspiracy charges.
“The circumstantial evidence in this case is compelling,” he said.
All four defendants will be back in court on Feb. 7 for further arraignment. Morgan, who is currently out of custody, will be back on Monday for a bail motion, potentially to increase her bail. The other three remain in custody.