Man sentenced to 19 years to life for murder of college-bound young man

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 18, 2015

@GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:                Alex Bastian (415) 553-1931

                                      Maxwell Szabo  (415) 553-9089

 

MAN SENTENCED TO 19 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MURDER OF COLLEGE-BOUND YOUNG MAN

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Andres Novelo, age 27, of San Francisco, was sentenced to 19 years and six months to life for the December 7, 2014 murder of Casey Bissell, as well as the assault on two additional victims stemming from the same incident.  He was convicted of murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of assault on July 2nd, 2015. 

 

“The victim in this case lost his life trying to protect his brother,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “This brave young man had a bright future that was tragically cut short, our hearts go out to his friends and family.”

 

According to court records, the victims met at Casanova bar on Valencia Street on the evening of December 6, 2014.  They were celebrating the fact that Mr. Bissell had gained entrance into the University of California at Berkeley.  The group stayed until shortly before closing time and left at approximately 1:45 am.  After leaving the bar, the group including Mr. Bissell, mingled on the sidewalk outside the bar and also in front of Nizario’s Pizza. Cameras show them talking, dancing and generally enjoying themselves with their group and others.

 

Defendant Andres Novelo left a nearby bar near closing time at approximately 1:35 am and headed west on 16th Street towards Valencia Street. A series of security cameras captures the Defendant walking down 16th Street and arriving at Valencia on the sidewalk in front of the Cassonova bar and Nizario’s Pizza.  According to various witnesses, Defendant Novelo was acting very combative and offending people.

 

After being combative with two other bystanders, as seen on  the pizza parlor’s security camera, Novelo ran up to Casey’s roommate, Taylor Hodgkin, and punched her in the face without having been provoked.  Victims Taylor Hodgkin, Quincy Adamo, Nick Martin, as well as Casey Bissel and others tried to diffuse the situation, and the group walked away from the Defendants in order to avoid Novelo.  The group walked south on Valencia Street, and Novelo followed them having armed himself with a large butcher knife that he had retrieved from his backpack.  He chased after the two women, Taylor and Quincy, swinging the knife at them, prompting Nick Martin to attempt to protect them.  Novelo ran up to Martin, swinging the knife at him, cutting through his shirt and cutting the skin around his chest, causing a large laceration.  Casey Bissell came to the aid of his brother, Nick, and Novelo then attacked Casey. 

 

As Casey retreated towards the street corner, he dropped his cellphone and braced against Novelo’s charge. The two grappled for a few seconds, during which time Casey received several distinct injuries including the fatal stab wound to the heart. Video also shows Casey’s head jerking back as Novelo swiped at him, cutting his cheek and lower lip. When Novelo lunged again, Casey grabbed ahold of his hoodie and the two came together losing their balance and falling to the sidewalk. Although fatally injured by this point, Casey managed to get up and kneel over Novelo and punched him several times. Bleeding profusely from his chest, Casey’s punches started slowing down, and he agonizingly cried out to Novelo, “Why did you do this?” before he stopped moving and eventually collapsed on top of Mr. Novelo. 

 

At sentencing today ten individuals gave victim impact statements, including Mr. Bissell’s mother, grandmothers, brother, and other friends and family members. 

 

“These violent actions were committed for no discernable reason and they had a catastrophic effect,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart.  “This man took an innocent life and forever devastated a caring and loving family.”   

 

The Honorable Rochelle East presided.  This successful prosecution was a result of the hard work and dedication of SFPD Inspector Sgt. Alan Levy.  Victim Advocate Lili Gamero served the victims and their families.  Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart prosecuted the case.