Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org
SAN FRANCISCO–Today, San Francisco District Attorney Boudin announced that the District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against two people for the crime that took the life of 76 year-old private investigator Jack Palladino and will file charges against one person for the murder of 84 year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee. The two incidents are unrelated tragedies against elderly San Franciscans, an especially vulnerable group in the midst of the pandemic.
“My heart goes out to the families of both victims for these senseless, violent attacks. These horrific crimes cause seniors and all of us to feel unsafe,” said District Attorney Boudin. “Violent crimes are my top priority. We will hold the people who committed these crimes accountable: we will prosecute them for murder.”
Jack Palladino spent decades working as a private investigator, often for prominent clients. On January 28, 2021, Mr. Palladino was violently attacked outside his home by two men who unsuccessfully tried to rob him. Mr. Palladino appears to have helped solve the crime committed against him; his own camera had captured photographic evidence of the suspects’ car and license plate.
“Jack Palladino left a permanent imprint on the San Francisco community through his decades of service as a brilliant, persistent investigator,” said District Attorney Boudin. “As someone who dedicated his lengthy career to doggedly pursuing truth and justice, it is fitting that, in the midst of a brutal attack, he managed to help crack the case. Our hearts ache for his family.”
The District Attorney’s Office has charged both Lawrence Thomas and Tyjone Flournoy with numerous felonies in connection with Mr. Palladino’s death. At the time the filing was prepared, Mr. Palladino was still alive; as a result, both men have been charged with attempted murder charges. Once the medical examiner makes findings as to the cause of death, the District Attorney’s Office expects to strike the attempt from the murder charge. The District Attorney’s Office has also charged each of them with attempted robbery; kidnapping to commit a robbery; assault with a deadly weapon; assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury; elder abuse; and false imprisonment. There are also numerous enhancements alleged, including ones for great bodily injury and ones related to the victim’s elderly age. The District Attorney is seeking detention of both men. Their arraignments are scheduled for this afternoon.
Another brutal homicide of an elderly San Franciscan also happened on January 28. At around 8:30 a.m., 84 year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was violently, abruptly attacked by a man in the Anza Vista neighborhood.
Antoine Watson is alleged to have committed that murder. Mr. Watson had been observed and contacted by San Francisco Police officers earlier that same morning for traffic infractions resulting in a minor collision. Police officers issued him a citation. Patrol officers’ body camera footage of the encounter led officers to later identify Mr. Watson as the suspect in the murder of Mr. Ratanapakdee.
The murder of Mr. Ratanapakdee, who was from Thailand, has been especially painful to the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, which has been victimized by many incidents of violence, hate, and racism since the start of the pandemic.
“This was a horrific, senseless attack, and I send my deepest condolences to the Ratanapakdee family for this unthinkable pain,” said District Attorney Boudin. “My heart goes out to the entire AAPI community for the harm and fear this tragedy has inflicted.”
The District Attorney’s Office will be filing charges today against Antoine Watson for murder and elder abuse causing death and seeking his detention.
Both cases remain at very early stages and the District Attorney’s Office is working closely with the San Francisco Police Department in these ongoing investigations. District Attorney Boudin is in frequent communication with Police Chief William Scott and Mayor London Breed, who are committed to a unified approach to promoting public safety in San Francisco.