S.F. man accused of killing 7-month-old was arrested twice for domestic violence this year

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/S-F-man-to-face-homicide-charges-following-death-16122377.php

S.F. man accused of killing 7-month-old was arrested twice for domestic violence this year
 
By Megan Cassidy

April 23, 2021

A San Francisco man was arrested on suspicion of murder this week in the death of a 7-month-old boy who was in his care, officials said Thursday.

Officials with the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office identified the baby as Synciere Williams. The suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Williams, was booked into San Francisco jail Tuesday night, and is held on suspicion of murder and assault on a child causing death, among other charges.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said although the investigation is ongoing and prosecutors are awaiting a final cause-of-death determination from the medical examiner, he has decided to file homicide charges.

“The death of (Synciere) is a horrific tragedy and should have never happened,” Boudin said in a statement to The Chronicle. “The loss of a child so young is hard to even comprehend.”

Police said that, despite having the same last name, the child and suspect were not related.

At about 12:53 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to California Pacific Medical Center on the 1200 block of Franklin Street regarding an unresponsive baby boy, San Francisco police officials said in a statement to The Chronicle. The boy had been brought into the emergency room by his “adult male caregiver,” who was Joseph Williams, police said.

Upon arrival, police learned that medical staff had declared the boy deceased and that hospital staffers had noticed signs of trauma on the infant. Officials with the Medical Examiner’s Office, San Francisco police’s homicide detail and Child Protective Services were notified of the death.

Homicide investigators later developed probable cause to arrest Joseph Williams for homicide, but police did not provide further details on the investigation.

Williams had two prior domestic violence arrests this year but was not charged with either incident, both of which involved a woman he was in a relationship with, police said. Officials with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said the woman refused to cooperate with the prosecution and told police she had attacked Williams first.

“Given the lack of cooperation with prosecution, we were unable to move forward with either of those cases,” said Rachel Marshall, a spokesperson the District Attorney’s Office.

The first arrest came on Jan. 7, when he was booked after an altercation with a woman near Market and Montgomery streets, San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said. Police said Williams was in a shoving match with a woman he was dating, and there was a stroller nearby occupied by a 10-month-old baby girl.

The woman told police the incident began in an apartment in the Tenderloin, where the two had an argument over their relationship. The woman said Williams grabbed her by the throat and left, and the argument spilled out into the street. Police at the time noted that the woman complained of bruising on her neck and that she refused medical treatment, Andraychak said.

Then on March 26, police responded to an apartment on the the 700 block of O’Farrell Street to investigate a report of a woman screaming and a baby crying. Officers spoke to the same woman as the previous incident, who told them that she and Williams argued about their relationship. She asked him to leave and attempted to push him out.

She had a cut on her lip and a mark on her forehead, and told police Williams had punched her and pushed her into a cabinet, Andraychak said.

For the Jan. 7 incident, Williams was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and child endangerment, according to Andraychak. After the March incident, he was booked on suspicion of felony domestic violence and false imprisonment.

The chain of events, Marshall said, “speaks to the need for better services and responses to domestic violence reports.”

April 27, 2021. Tags: , , . Social justice warriors, Violent crime.

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