SAN FRANCISCO – The Office of the United States Attorney has filed a federal criminal complaint charging Leion Butler with aiding and abetting murder after surveillance videos led investigators to conclude Butler was involved in the murder of a victim whose lifeless body was found on November 12, 2023, in the Presidio, in San Francisco, Calif. The complaint was filed November 20, 2023, and was unsealed earlier today.
According to the complaint, Butler, 20, of San Francisco, is responsible for the murder of the victim found in the Presidio on November 12, 2023. Early that morning, witnesses discovered a deceased body in the parking lot of Crissy Field East Beach in the Presidio. The complaint describes how the victim was found to have suffered from a single gunshot wound to his head.
The criminal complaint describes how investigators reviewed video from surveillance cameras near where the body was found, including those capturing cars leaving the area near the time of the murder. One of the cars observed leaving the area was linked to the deceased victim. Three days later, the victim’s vehicle was located, unoccupied, with its license plates still attached. The car reportedly was double parked for days in a street in the Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. The criminal complaint describes how investigators obtained additional surveillance footage from cameras near where the victim’s car was found. The additional surveillance video captured the arrival of the victim’s car and showed someone—later identified as the defendant—parking the car, exiting, and speaking into a cellphone. Further, the video captured the eventual arrival of a second car. The criminal complaint further describes how the surveillance camera captured images of the defendant speaking with the driver of the second car, the defendant making several trips between the victim’s car and the second car, and the defendant wiping down the driver’s side door and interior of the victim’s car with “a clothing item or towel.” In addition, the video showed additional images of the defendant retrieving items from the victim’s car and eventually getting into the second vehicle and leaving the scene.
The complaint describes how further investigation led investigators to discover the name of the person who owned the second vehicle and, eventually, to the defendant. According to investigators, the defendant both fit the description of the person who parked the victim’s car in Hunter’s Point and was related to the owner of the second vehicle. Further, investigators developed evidence establishing that on the day of the murder, the defendant’s cell phone was both in the general area where the victim was found and where the victim’s car was wiped down.
In sum, Butler is charged with murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1111 and 2.
A criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum statutory penalty for murder is death or life imprisonment. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Butler was arrested on November 20, 2023, and remains in federal custody. Butler appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim to face the charges. Butler pleaded not guilty. Butler’s next appearance is scheduled for November 22, 2023, before Magistrate Judge Kim, for further status on detention.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelsey Davidson is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.