Phil Van Stockum, a physicist and the co-founder of an energy startup on the Peninsula, is the first juror to speak publicly after the jury returned a verdict Nov. 30 that outraged decent people everywhere.
“The jury did something honorable here,” Van Stockum, 33, told the San Francisco Examiner after writing about the verdict for Politico. “It’s hard to put aside your biases no matter what situation you’re in.”
Though he did not vote on the verdict or participate in deliberations as an alternate juror, Van Stockum said he viewed all of the evidence in the trial and spoke with the jurors for hours after the verdict.
“I was not surprised at all to hear the not guilty verdict on the murder counts,” Van Stockum said. “The murder charges… I thought should not have been brought.”
Van Stockum’s comments come after District Attorney George Gascon on Tuesday stood behind his decision to charge 45-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate with first-degree murder in the killing at Pier 14 on July 1, 2015.