Jury convicts jewelry mart killer

An Antioch man was found guilty Thursday of 16 felony counts in a 2013 attack at San Francisco’s Gift Center & JewelryMart that killed two women, badly injured a store owner and had half a dozen police officers dodging bullets.

A San Francisco Superior Court jury found Barry White guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder, six counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of illegal possession of an assault weapon. The jury deliberated for only half a day.

White, 27, was on trial for the attack at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store in the JewelryMart building at 888 Brannan St., on July 12, 2013.

Prosecutors said White, who was angry at being shortchanged on a piece of custom gold jewelry, waited until other customers had left the store before shooting and stabbing Lina Lim, 51, and storeowner Victor Hung, and slashing the throat of Khin Min, 35.

Lim and Min, both store employees, died at the scene, while Hung was badly injured but survived.

White then left the store and fired at responding officers outside before surrendering when he ran out of ammunition, according to prosecutors.

Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof argued in court that White, who was shot in the back of the head by Antioch police in 2009, suffered from brain damage or a mental disorder that affected his impulse control, reasoning and judgment.

Maloof noted that even during the trial White’s issues were on display, as when he chose to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity after defense attorneys had already presented evidence for it. White also asked Judge Ethan Schulman to be allowed to fire his attorney after closing arguments were already underway because he wished to present his own case, a request Schulman denied.

Maloof said after the trial:

“He’s had mental issues for years and I think throughout this trial some of those mental issues came out.”

Juror David Zensius, 71, said the jury had considered White’s mental issues and:

“… we decided that intent was there, that premeditation was there. … I think there’s a mental problem, but not one that would block intent.”

Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles called the mental defense “fake” and praised the jury for seeing through it. She noted that next week would be the four-year anniversary of the murders.

Knoles said of the verdict:

“I feel good for the families because they’ve been through so much over the last four years, to finally get a little measure of justice is what they’ve wanted.”

White was out of custody on bail at the time of the shooting on pending charges connected with the 2009 police shooting.

He is alleged to have rammed a patrol car in Antioch in that incident, prompting an officer to open fire, but in 2011 he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit disputing the police version of events.

Schulman Thursday said there was an additional allegation in this case that White had committed the crimes while out on bail. If that allegation is found true and if White is found guilty and sentenced in the Antioch case, it could add time to his sentence in this case, Schulman said.

White is set to return to court on Monday. A sentencing date has not yet been set.