Discover more from Gotham by Susan Dyer Reynolds
Two-time attempted murderer released in San Francisco kills two people in Hayward
Sean Carsetti stabbed a man in the neck and left an ice pick in a woman's head, yet both Gascon and Boudin agreed to his release
On October 25, 2016, at around 1 p.m., 37-year-old transient Sean Carsetti approached a 49-year-old man on Market at 5th Street in downtown San Francisco and asked to borrow his pocketknife. When the man obliged, Carsetti began violently stabbing him in the neck. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency workers Frank Shreve and Paolo De Souza were driving near the scene and stopped their truck to intervene, subduing Carsetti with the help of bystanders. In video obtained by NBC Bay Area News, the victim can be seen dazed and bleeding. Emergency personnel arrived and applied pressure to the wounds. Carsetti was booked into county jail for attempted murder.
Before Judge Jeffrey S. Ross on Oct. 25, 2017, with Lawrence deSouza representing the People for District Attorney George Gascon and Demarris Evans representing Carsetti, a plea deal was accepted for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. Carsetti was sentenced to three years in prison, with a total of 736 days credit for time served.
On May 9, 2018, Carsetti was charged with misdemeanor battery in the Financial District; the San Francisco Police Department database also notes a parole violation. On June 1, 2018, Carsetti was charged with another misdemeanor battery at Geary and Larkin Streets, and again the SFPD database mentions a parole violation. On July 1, 2018, Carsetti was arrested at 18th and Noe Streets for felony robbery and assault with a deadly weapon; the police database again mentions the parole violation, and Carsetti is once again charged by Gascon’s office with a felony.
ICE PICK ATTACK
At around 4 p.m. on March 8, 2019, SFPD responded to 5th and Harrison Streets regarding an assault with a deadly weapon. Upon arrival at the scene, officers located a female in her thirties lying on the sidewalk unresponsive with the handle of an ice pick protruding from the back of her head. According to multiple witnesses, a man was chasing someone else with the ice pick and, when that failed, he walked up to the woman and committed the random unprovoked attack. Witnesses also gave a detailed description of the assailant, and one person alerted police that he was hiding behind a parked vehicle on 6th Street.
Police took the suspect, Sean Carsetti, into custody. He was booked on charges of attempted homicide, personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon, a probation violation, and a parole violation. Doctors were able to remove the ice pick from the victim and, while sustaining life threatening injuries, she survived.
On October 4, 2019, Gascon announced he would step down as district attorney of San Francisco to run for the same job in Los Angeles. A month later, assistant public defender Chesa Boudin beat out three moderate candidates in a tight ranked choice election and was sworn in as the 29th district attorney of San Francisco on January 8, 2020.
One year into Boudin’s term, on December 29, 2020, Sean Carsetti was in court for the 2019 attempted murder charge. Despite the fact he left an ice pick in a woman’s head, and, three years prior, stabbed a man in the neck with a knife, Boudin’s office accepted a plea deal. Carsetti was convicted of the lesser charge of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, just as he had been under Gascon for the first attempted murder.
On January 28, 2021, Carsetti came before Judge Linda Colfax, with Garry Preneta as appointed conflicts counsel (used when the Public Defender declares a conflict of interest) and Jency Breska making a special appearance for the assistant district attorney of record, Edward Chang. The court sentenced Carsetti to three years time served. Before he was released, the judge ordered Carsetti to stay at least 150 yards away from his previous two stabbing victims.
A MONTH AND TWO MURDERS LATER
In May of 2021, Sean Carsetti, going by the alias John Regan, was charged with two counts of murder related to stabbings in Hayward on March 18 and March 31 — just over a month after Boudin’s office accepted the plea deal that set him free. He also faced a charge of attempted murder in an April 3 stabbing.
Enrique Lazard Ortiz was found dead from multiple stab wounds to his neck and the back of his head at 3 a.m. March 18, on Main Street. Less than two weeks later, at 2 p.m. March 31, Magda Freida Jesus was found dead from stab wounds in front of the Union Bank on B Street. On April 3, Carsetti was arrested for stabbing a woman six times outside a cafe on A Street. Officers ultimately connected him to the stabbing deaths of Ortiz and Jesus, to which he confessed.
In Alameda County Superior Court documents filed April 5, 2021, a pretrial report recommended Carsetti remain in custody due to “mitigating/aggravating considerations” — an extensive criminal record including convictions for assault, battery, domestic violence, and drug charges. It also notes that Carsetti is on felony probation in San Francisco. “Furthermore, Defendant was arrested on 03/08/2019 in San Francisco County for attempted murder which resulted to an unspecified felony conviction on 01/28/2021 sentenced to 3 years in prison,” the report states. According to court records, Carsetti has 10 felony and 24 misdemeanor criminal convictions and nine failures to appear in court.
Still, a variation of the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument called VPRAI-R, used in a pilot program by Alameda County, categorized Carsetti as a Risk Level 5: “An arrestee, based on a past validation study, categorized Level 5 risk has a predicted success rate of 70.7% with a failure to appear rate of 7.3% and a new arrest rate of 9.6%.” Perhaps the only thing more baffling than an algorithm predicting Carsetti’s success rate at 70.7% is two human district attorneys ignoring an escalating pattern of violence that ultimately resulted in the deaths of two innocent victims.