SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A Florida prison inmate falsely confessed to two unsolved San Francisco homicides, according to his public defenders. Last week, a jury saw through Roy Lacy’s lies and acquitted him following a two-month-long trial.
“Around the time of the murders — a stabbing in 1999 and a shooting in 2000 — Lacy was an 18-year-old runaway in a personal relationship with an individual who is alleged to have actually committed the murders,” the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office wrote.
The 1999 stabbing victim was 25-year-old Kameron Sengthavy, and the 2000 shooting victim was 60-year-old Thomas Lee, according to police.
Lacy wrote murder confession letters while he was serving a prison sentence in Florida for robbing banks. The San Francisco Police Defenders Office said Lacy was in fact trying to escape “extreme violence” he was suffering from Florida prison inmates who wanted to kill him.
Lacy’s confession was motivated by his goal to be transferred to a California prison, public defenders said.
Despite Lacy’s knowledge of the killings, the details he provided in writing and in a video confession did not match witness statements from the 1999 homicide. There was also no physical evidence tying him to either case.
“Mr. Lacy’s words did not match the evidence. We are grateful to the 12 jurors who saw the humanity in Mr. Lacy, and who understood that he had no other recourse than to falsely confess to survive,” public defender Elizabeth Camacho said.
“Mr. Lacy falsely confessing to murder is an act of extreme desperation. The only thing he has left is his life, which he was convinced he was going to lose in Florida. He decided he might as well go back to California where he knows how to survive in prison and can maintain a better connection to his family,” public defender Diamond Ward said.
Lacy has been in San Francisco County Jail since 2018 and his Florida prison term has since been completed. He will be transferred to a California state prison to serve a life sentence for robbing banks in Marin County in 2012 and 2013.
“This was an exceptionally complicated case. Jury trials are often the only way to get to the truth,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju. “It should have been clear to law enforcement from the beginning that the facts in this case didn’t add up, yet prosecutors pursued these charges without credible evidence to support their claim.”