All Articles Tagged "Lupe Mercado"
Most parents will go to any lengths to help their children, and Barry Laprell Gilton and Lupe Mercado are no different. The 38- and 37-year-old proud parents of four began dating in middle school and eventually grew up to have a comfortable life with one daughter and three sons in the Bay area. But when their oldest ran away at 17 last year to be with 22-year-old Calvin Sneed, a known Compton gang member, who wound up as her pimp, the parents took justice into their own hands and are now facing life in prison.
Initially, Gilton and Mercado sought help from law enforcement to bring their daughter home after they discovered her in escort ads. They also added the girl to several missing and exploited children registries, but the prosecution believes when those attempts failed, the couple went much further. They allege that on the night of May 27, the pair made a failed attempt to murder Sneed, but that a week later they succeeded when the young man was found gunned down in his car on June 4 at 2 am. Gilton allegedly fired a .40-caliber weapon from a silver Mercedes-Benz SUV that took Sneed’s life.
According to the LA Times, Dist. Atty. George Gascon said Thursday:
“We have substantial evidence to believe that this was a premeditated event. I understand the frustration that the parents must have felt. Having said that, I think it’s important to say that taking the law in your own hands is never an acceptable solution, and killing someone in a situation other than defense of serious bodily injury or death is not an acceptable solution.”
It’s believed that on May 27 the couple tracked Sneed and fired a 9-millimeter handgun at him as he sat in a car. According to a police report, there was no surveillance video available of the scene where an “unidentified suspect approached on foot” and fired nine shots. Having survived, Sneed returned to the Bay the weekend of June 2 to visit an ailing relative. When the runaway teen visited her parents they argued with her and unsuccessfully tried to get Sneed to leave. Later that night while Sneed was reportedly in a foreign gang area, Mercado phoned Gilton at 1:57 am and four minutes later, fired the fatal shots. Eric Safire, who represents Gilton, doesn’t believe the charges will stick:
“There is some circumstantial evidence, and there’s certainly a motive, but there is no direct evidence that we’ve been made aware of.”
Mercado’s lawyer, Tony Tamburello, agreed, saying law enforcement officials:
“jumped to the conclusion that because [the couple had] a motive, that they’re the people who are responsible.” “They’re wrong. And they’ve been wrong before.”
Sneed’s father, Charles, sees things differently. He told the San Francicso Chronicle:
“Calvin was a pimp, the girl was a runaway, the parents got mad. They became God for a moment. They didn’t wait for the judge, the trial, they did it right then and there in the street. Who are they to say they are God, to determine whether Calvin lived or died? How come they didn’t let a judge do that? They took it into their own hands.”
Right now their fate is in the hands of someone else. Gilton and Mercado are scheduled to be arraigned June 20 and are being held on bail at $2 million a piece, each facing one count of murder, one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied motor vehicle, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Gilton also faces a charge of possessing a firearm as a felon due to a 1995 drug-related conviction. Both sides might have a tough time proving their points in this case.
What do you think should happen to this couple?
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