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Suspect in Gay Man's Murder Charged

Victims burned body was found in June, suspect not charged with hate crime

The suspected killer of a gay San Francisco man whose burned body was found in Buena Vista Park was expected to be arraigned Wednesday, July 27 on four felony counts that included murder and robbery charges.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón's office announced Tuesday, July 26 that it had charged David Munoz Diaz, 22, with allegedly murdering Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello, 23, who was found dead at 4:39 a.m. Friday, June 10 in the park near the city's famed Haight Street neighborhood.

In addition to the felony counts of murder and robbery, Diaz has also been charged with one felony count of arson of a recycling bin and one felony count of mutilating/maiming/disfiguring a body, as Canul-Arguello's body was left either in or near a garbage receptacle. Diaz is also charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence.

The D.A.'s office also announced that Harry Dorfman, an assistant district attorney, is currently handling the prosecution of the case.

D.A. spokeswoman Erica Derryck declined to say if Diaz identifies as gay when asked about his sexual orientation by the Bay Area Reporter. She did disclose that he has not been charged with a hate crime because there is no evidence to suggest animus toward the victim based on his sexual orientation.

As the B.A.R. noted in a Saturday, July 23 blog post, San Francisco police homicide inspectors arrested Diaz, a San Francisco resident, at the city's Hall of Justice Friday, July 22.

What led police to arrest Diaz and his being charged this week, said Derryck, was a combination of reviewing the crime scene, phone records, and conversations with Diaz.

"Various items of personal property belonging to the victim were not found when police searched the crime scene," she said, referring to Canul-Arguello's wallet and cell phone.

So far, few details have been released about how the two men met that night, if they were friends or lovers, and how Canul-Arguello was killed.

Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, told the B.A.R. this week that police do know how the two men met but could not disclose the information as doing so could "compromise a successful prosecution."

"We don't release a lot of details in homicides because we are held accountable and often the information is unusable in court if they see this information in the media," he added.

Derryck also would not say if they were friends or lovers but did reveal that the police investigation "established a prior relationship between the defendant and the victim."

Canul-Arguello, who worked at Pi bar, an artisanal pizzeria on Valencia Street, had last been seen alive near 18th and Castro streets at 3 a.m. the morning his body was found. Earlier he had been drinking with friends at the Cafe, a popular gay dance club on Market Street near the heart of the city's gay district.

Friends and family have described him as kind and hard working. Born in Mexico, he had lived in San Francisco for more than three years, most recently with his brother, Ivan Canul-Arguello, 27, in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

Seth Hemmelgarn contributed to this report.

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