Press Releases

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins Announces Byron Reed Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

A jury convicted Byron Reed of second-degree murder for killing a man in the Bayview District in 2020

San Francisco, CA –Today, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced that her office secured a second-degree murder conviction of Byron Reed, 47, after trial by jury. Reed killed Paul Ortega, 58, in the early morning hours of July 23, 2020 on Jennings Street in the Bayview District of San Francisco. Ortega interrupted a drug sale Reed was conducting leading to an initial confrontation between the two men. After separating Reed returned to the scene and began a second confrontation with the victim. This second encounter quickly escalated into a fist fight where Reed quickly overpowered Ortega. As Ortega lay on his back in the street, Reed repeatedly kicked and stomped Ortega’s face and neck, before lifting his limp body and slamming his head against the asphalt, killing him. Reed left the scene leaving Ortega face down on the street to die. The jury reached a guilty verdict on October 20, 2022.

“The jury’s verdict deliver’s justice for Ortega’s family and sends a clear message that brutal acts of violence will not be tolerated in San Francisco,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “Reed is being held accountable for his extreme violence and shocking disregard for Ortega’s life. Ortega did not have to die on the street as he did. We will always stand with the victim’s family and communities impacted by violence and seek justice.”

The case against Reed was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Aaron Laycook with assistance from paralegals Jessica Diamond and Tony Yu. Victim Advocates Maria Reynoso and Shychai Douangsawang worked closely with the victim’s family throughout the case. Prosecutors were able to develop a strong case against Reed based on the careful and diligent investigation work performed by the San Francisco Police Department’s Homicide Detail and District Attorney’s Office Investigators Lissette Souza and Scott Wong.

“Paul Ortega’s death is a terrible loss to his family and friends,” said Assistant District Attorney Aaron Laycook. “And while I know nothing that happens in our courtrooms can bring Mr. Ortega back, I am hopeful that the jury’s decision today will bring them some sense of justice and closure. Serving as a juror on a case like this is always a solemn responsibility, and this jury rose to the occasion. I am deeply grateful for their thoughtful, diligent deliberations in reaching this verdict.”

Reed has been in custody since his arrest on September 10, 2021. Sentencing will be set at a future date not yet set.

Court Number: 21009063