FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: PubDef-MediaRelations@sfgov.org | (628) 249-7946
Second SF Jury Acquits Man Who Gave False Murder Confession to Escape Brutal Florida Prison Conditions
SAN FRANCISCO – After a second two-month trial, a San Francisco jury acquitted Roy Lacy on April 6th in connection with a cold case murder from 2000. In 2018, Lacy was serving a prison sentence for bank robbery in Florida when he gave a false confession to two unsolved San Francisco murders in order to escape the prison’s brutal conditions. During his first trial in November 2022, a different jury acquitted Lacy of one of the murders, but hung on the second. The District Attorney’s Office decided to retry him on the second murder. During the second trial, the jury acquitted him after one day of deliberation.
“It was clear that Mr. Lacy’s words did not match the evidence, and there was never any physical evidence linking him to this crime,” said Deputy Public Defender Elizabeth Camacho, who represented Lacy in both trials. “We made that case twice now, and are extremely grateful to this jury for holding the state to its burden and rightly finding that Mr. Lacy is innocent.”
“We know that people falsely confess or plead to things they didn’t do when they are in their lowest and most vulnerable state. That was the case for Mr. Lacy, who was being subjected to extreme violence and intimidation in a Florida prison,” said Deputy Public Defender Diamond Ward, who co-chaired Lacy’s defense team.
Mr. Lacy is concurrently serving a life sentence in California under the Three Strikes Law due to convictions for bank robbery by note. He will be transferred back into the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“The District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case twice — at great cost to our city — and added to the shameful trial backlog,” said Public Defender Mano Raju, whose office has been tracking the San Francisco Superior Court’s violation of numerous individuals’ Constitutional right to a speedy trial. As of Feb. 1st, the data shows 939 trials that are overdue, which includes 129 people who remain jailed beyond their trial deadline. “I commend Mr. Lacy’s defense team for the skill, attention, and compassion they brought to both of these trials,” said Raju.