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Thursday, September 6, 2012

James Rickleffs, Accused of Killing Eriq Escalon, to Be Charged With Murder and Burglary

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 5:06 PM

James Rickleffs
  • James Rickleffs

James Rickleffs, 45, will be charged with one count of premeditated murder and one count of first degree residential robbery, District Attorney George Gascón announced today.


Police this week arrested him on suspicion of gagging, murdering, and robbing local hairdresser Eriq Escalon, 28, whose body was found by Escalon's roommate in his apartment on June 12.

On the morning of his death, Escalon and Rickleffs met at 440 Castro, a local bar, according to court documents. They left together, stopped at an ATM where Escalon accessed his account, and took a cab back to Escalon's place on the 5000 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard. Later that evening, Escalon's roommate returned home to find the victim bound, gagged with duct tape, and dead.

Police have forensic evidence that links Rickleffs to the crime scene, Gascón said.

Rickleffs apparently has a history of low-level offenses related to property crime and drug use. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 10.

This hasn't been the only recent case in which a budding romantic interest turned violent. Gascón noted that there's been an increase in victims reporting similar attacks.

"We have seen a pattern of conduct, specifically in the Castro bar scene, where unsuspecting people have been robbed or burglarized by suspects they met at a bar or club," the DA said at a press conference today.

Gascón reminded everyone to watch out for strangers the same way you did as a kid. "Be very mindful of people that you meet the first time ... because the consequences have been very dire -- as it was in this case," he said.

The San Francisco Police Department is still looking for anyone who has had any contact with the suspect. Those who have information regarding the case are urged to call Sgt. Scott Warnke or the inspectors on the case at 553-1145, the after-hours line at 553-1071, the anonymous tip line at 575-4444, or send a text message to TIP411.

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Suzanne Stathatos

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