The man accused of beating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband to death with a hammer in late October will go to trial on felony charges, a judge ruled Wednesday afternoon.
The decision came after a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors presented part of their case against David DePape in the Oct. 28 attack. The suspect also planned to target Hunter Biden, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and actor Tom Hanks as part of a large-scale suicide mission, a San Francisco police investigator testified Wednesday.
The new allegations surrounding DePape have been revealed in dramatic fashion through 911 tapes, body camera footage and an interrogation recorded after the incident. Taken together, the evidence provided the clearest window yet into the attack, which shocked the nation ahead of November’s midterm elections and further fueled concerns about politically motivated violence.
Judge Stephen M. Murphy ruled after a morning appearance that there was enough evidence to send DePape to trial on state charges of attempted murder, false imprisonment and a number of other crimes. DePape will next appear in court on December 28.
Paul Pelosi, 82, underwent surgery to repair multiple skull fractures and was hospitalized for nearly a week after the attack.
The hearing revealed several new details about the midnight burglary in Pelosi’s Pacific Heights neighborhood on Oct. 28, as well as DePaipe’s alleged plans to expose what he believed to be massive misconduct by Democrats.
DePape told a San Francisco police investigator that he never expected to survive his mission — saying repeatedly that he expected his mission to end in a police shooting and that he was “ready for it,” according to testimony released in Wednesday.
The suspect repeatedly told San Francisco police Lt. Carla Hurley — a police sergeant at the time — that he had no plans to turn himself in and that he was fueled by anger at the Democratic Party’s lies, according to records.
Describing his thought process as he stood in the lobby of Pelosi’s home and officers entered the home, DePape told police that “he (Paul Pelosi) thinks I’m just going to give up, and I came here not to give up.”
In an interview with Hurley at a San Francisco hospital after the attack, DePaipe criticized Democrats, repeatedly referencing former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, referring to the “endless (expletive) crime.”
“They go from one crime to another to another,” DePape told Hurley in a taped interview. “And it’s like a whole (expletive) four years. This is unacceptable.”
Authorities suspect DePape broke into Pelosi’s home in a failed attempt to kidnap Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives and second in line for the presidency. Calling his search a “suicide mission,” DePape told investigators he planned to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps and roll her in front of Congress to “show other members of Congress that actions have consequences,” according to court documents.
Instead, he found her husband, Paul Pelosi, asleep in the couple’s bedroom — leading to a tense encounter in which both men fought over a hammer in the home’s dimly lit foyer, according to an indictment handed up by a federal grand jury last week.
Court records have already shown how Paul Pelosi called 911 and alerted authorities before abruptly ending the call as his attacker stood nearby, telling dispatchers that “he wants me to get off the phone.”
As part of his failed attempt to kidnap one of the nation’s most powerful politicians, DePape told police that Paul Pelosi had “backed me into a corner” by calling for help during the early-morning attack, according to prosecutors interviewed during the hearing. .
In the memos, DePape detailed Paul Pelosi being held in his home against his will. DePape could also be heard discussing the attack itself, which ended with him allegedly hitting Pelosi in the head with a hammer as the two struggled over the tool.
Police body camera footage shown to a judge on Wednesday showed the scene unfolding in a matter of seconds. The officer first expressed dismay after discovering DePape and Paul Pelosi holding the same gavel in the lobby of Pelosi’s home. The attack happened seconds after one of the officers ordered DePape to drop the hammer, Officer Kyle Cagney said during the hearing.
Instead of surrendering, DePape swung the instrument at Paul Pelosi, the officer testified — striking Pelosi in the head and knocking him to the floor unconscious, the indictment said.
During an interview with police in court Wednesday, DePaipe mentioned other people he planned to attack and said he did not like Paul Pelosi’s attempts to call the police. He said he wanted to kidnap Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, Hurley testified. And DePaipe also said he wants to travel down south to talk to Bay Area native and Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks.
“I’m not going to be stopped here,” DePape told investigators, recalling the break-in.
After the attack, detectives found a sleeping bag and two backpacks in the backyard of Pelosi’s residence, Hurley testified.
One backpack contained several of DePape’s IDs, including DePape’s California driver’s license and birth certificate. It also contained a Canadian passport, a social security card, an ATM card, at least one bank envelope and a credit card in Depape’s name, she said.
Investigators also found a Nintendo Switch video game system, several batteries and charging cords in the backpack’s storage, Hurley testified.
One backpack contained a second hammer, she said. Court testimony revealed that DePape also kept food in those backpacks, including cured meats and several bottles of vitamin supplements.
Police body camera footage was also played in court Wednesday, although a monitor set up for the judge to view prevented members of the gallery from seeing most of the footage.
DePape also faces several federal charges in the Oct. 28 trial. At a recent hearing, federal prosecutors said they have “substantial” evidence against DePape in the case.
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