Defendants Pled Guilty to Manslaughter in the Death of San Francisco Police Officer Nick Tomasito Birco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2011

CONTACT:
ADA Seth Steward, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1014
Erica Terry Derryck, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced today that Carl Lather, and Nicholas Smith, pled guilty to manslaughter and robbery in connection with the death of San Francisco Police Officer Nick Tomasito Birco (CNS 2362612, 2362613). The defendants pled in Department 27 of San Francisco Superior Court before the Honorable Newton Lam.

Both defendant Lather and defendant Smith pled guilty to manslaughter in violation of California Penal Code 192(a). Both defendants also pled guilty to four counts of robbery in violation of California Penal Code 211. As a result of a negotiated plea agreement, both defendant Lather and defendant Smith expect to be sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

According to evidence presented to the court, in July 2006, after committing four separate robberies, the defendants fled in a stolen vehicle and led police on a high speed car chase through San Francisco and San Mateo counties ending in a collision resulting in the death of Officer Birco, a five-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department. The vehicle was driven by Steven Petrilli, a co-defendant of Smith and Lather. Defendants Lather and Smith were passengers in the vehicle. On September 23, 2010, a jury found that Steven Petrilli murdered Officer Nick Tomasito Birco during the commission of a robbery spree. On January 25, 2011, defendant Petrilli was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 6, 2011 in Department 27 of San Francisco Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming prosecuted the case.