FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office – (628)249-7946 – Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org
SF Jury Acquits on Murder Charge, Agrees that Public Defender Client Acted in Self-Defense
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, a San Francisco jury found a Fresno man not guilty of murder by virtue of self-defense. Although the man conceded to a single felony count of possession of a firearm, Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Natividad and her team presented physical evidence and character witnesses to show that her client had acted in self-defense.
In August 2020, Robert Brewer was visiting San Francisco in a rental car, getting his mother a birthday gift. Mr. Brewer had parked, but later found himself lost on foot in the city. Mr. Brewer approached a vehicle he believed to be his rental car, but soon realized he was mistaken when he encountered Darrelle Scales, the owner of the car. Mr. Scales began threatening Mr. Brewer, who walked away. Mr. Scales then followed Mr. Brewer for over two blocks. When Mr. Brewer saw Mr. Scales reach for a shiny object in his waistband, which he believed to be a gun, he shot at Mr. Scales one time out of fear. Mr. Scales, who died later, was found with an 18” long silver metal pipe.
“The jury understood that Mr. Brewer was in fear for his life and was acting in self-defense,” said Natividad. “Situations like this are so complex because you have someone like Mr. Brewer who grew up in an area where he was exposed to so much violence and was only carrying a gun for protection.”
The defense team included Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Natividad, second chair Nikita Saini, Investigators Nigel Phillips and Carolyn Phillips, Paralegal Sercan Ersoy, and Law Clerks Elly Leggatt and Matt Bertini.
“I am proud of our defense team who worked hard to demonstrate that this was an act of self-defense. Mr. Brewer would have never fired if he was not in fear for his own life. We are pleased that the jury understood the reality of the altercation and made the right decision,” said Public Defender Mano Raju.
Mr. Brewer has been in San Francisco County jail since August 2020 despite the fact that he asserted his right to a speedy trial in October. Due to a large backlog and the San Francisco Superior Court only conducting criminal jury trials in four courtrooms, Mr. Brewer waited nearly five months beyond the last day that his trial should have been heard.