By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
Caldwell had appeared suddenly and mysteriously on the police radar the day before, after an anonymous tip had been phoned into the Ingleside police station, received by the station captain himself, announcing that investigators should "check out a Maurice Caldwell" and that he had been "shooting off guns in the projects at Alemany and Ellsworth for years."
Gerrans knocked on the door of Mary Cobbs, a reserved 28-year-old woman with two young sons, whose house sat next to the crime scene. She'd recently been moved down the hill into Alemany — next-door to where Caldwell was living with Tyler — while her old house was being renovated. She never spoke to anybody, Caldwell remembers.
According to a transcript of their interview, Cobbs told Gerrans that she had been woken up by the noise that night and saw two shooters, side by side, standing under a streetlight, firing away. She had seen the shooters before. She didn't know their names, but they were not from Alemany.
As Cobbs was giving this taped statement, Caldwell was driving back into the neighborhood. He parked and was cuffed without explanation by Crenshaw, he says. Crenshaw knocked on Cobbs' door with Caldwell in tow. Caldwell says that he thought he was being led to his own house next door. Gerrans answered Cobbs' door. Caldwell says he and Cobbs saw each other and that Crenshaw announced him by name. Crenshaw asked for Gerrans' keys to his squad car, where he interrogated Caldwell about the murder and let him go shortly after.
Crenshaw's interruption, potentially exposing the only suspect in a murder to the only witness, is acknowledged on the transcript of the tape.
But Cobbs was now pegged as a witness. She claimed to have received threats and later said that Caldwell told her he was going to kill her and her family, which Caldwell denies.
Despite having nothing revealing from Cobbs and only an anonymous tip to work with, the investigation never looked past Caldwell. There is no record of any effort to find Marritte Funches.
On July 26, 1990, Cobbs etched a version of events that would put Caldwell away for 20 years.
That day, Cobbs picked Caldwell's photo out of a lineup as the man she saw with a shotgun outside her window. She referenced him by name.
The next day, paperwork had been filed to move Cobbs out of Alemany. For her bravery, she received a Medal of Merit from San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and an all-expense-paid trip from United Airlines to Disneyland for her and her sons.
When her move was complete in September, a warrant was issued for Caldwell's arrest.
Caldwell says that the influence of Crenshaw, with whom he had a history, has never sat right with him.
The two of them had first met less than two years earlier, around Halloween in 1988, when Crenshaw raided the low-rent Amazon Hotel in the Mission, where Caldwell was staying with a girlfriend, the daughter of a drug kingpin.
Caldwell and Crenshaw would tangle often. Not that Caldwell made things easy on himself. He held down jobs, but also sold drugs and on occasion shot streetlights out for fun. He seemed to infuriate local cops, driving around town in a canary yellow Cadillac Seville, without insurance or a license. He was arrested frequently throughout 1989 and early 1990, but the charges would always be dropped. He'd go to the station after he was raided to reclaim confiscated cash, he says.
It was an uneasy battle of wits between Crenshaw and Caldwell. Late on the evening of Jan. 24, 1990, Caldwell says tensions between the two exploded. Caldwell was shooting out streetlights in Alemany with friends, unaware that police were watching from up on the hill.
Caldwell soon had an angry Crenshaw upon him. But he pled ignorance. He'd snuck the gun back into his house.
According to a written complaint Caldwell filed two days later, Crenshaw grew impatient and assaulted him. The complaint says that he drove Caldwell, handcuffed, to a dark lot in Bayview. He told him he was going to kill him if he didn't tell him where the gun was, and then allegedly choked him. Caldwell played along but when they returned to Alemany he screamed for help. Two days later, the Office of Citizen Complaints in San Francisco documented his injuries.
Crenshaw would rise to be a commander of the San Francisco Police Department. In his career he attracted controversy and accolades at a steady rate.
A mother filed suit against him in July 1988, alleging that Crenshaw and other officers mistakenly burst into her home in Bayview, detained her and her 11-year-old son for an hour, and held a shotgun to his head.
In 1998, the San Francisco Bay Guardian detailed a police raid overseen by Crenshaw, then a lieutenant in the SFPD narcotics division. Ninety police officers stormed a housing complex in Western Addition, blowing doors open with shotguns, separating kids as young as 6 from their parents. There were reports of grandmothers being held at gunpoint and a pit bull being shot by police.
"The raid went off, more or less, without a hitch," Crenshaw said at the time.
Lady Justice wears a blindfold which is suppose to represents blind justice, handed-out without fear or favor regardless of race, creed or class. Are we still living in caves, how can something like this keep happening?
Jails, prisons, penitentiaries are all from the mind of the devil. They give nothing that is good. They destroy lives. Jesus communicated with the spirits in prison when he laid his life down for us. King James Version of 1 Peter 3:19 by:also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; God did not create jails to give guilt. Jesus who is the Father seeks to free people that are in prison.
It's seems as if we are.....it's happening all over....I just witnessed/experIenced the exact same ordeal with my son's father. I pray it doesn't take 20 years to prove his innocence....