News » Crime & Courts

Police gaffes blamed for Hillsborough homicide plea deal

by

10 comments
Bradley Kleiman will serve up to seven years for voluntary manslaughter in a plea deal over the death of Christopher Calvache.
  • Bradley Kleiman will serve up to seven years for voluntary manslaughter in a plea deal over the death of Christopher Calvache.

A grieving mother is outraged that triggerman Bradley Kleiman will serve no more than seven years in prison for shooting her son dead in 2010 at the pool house of Kleiman’s parents’ upscale Hillsborough home.

But the questionable activities of both the victim and Hillsborough police made prosecutors cut a deal with Kleiman last week, vastly reducing his sentence, attorneys in the case said.

Kleiman, 31, a parolee and son of a San Mateo civil attorney, shot and killed Christopher Calvache, 30, after an argument on June 15, 2010. The homicide was the first in the affluent suburb since 2004.

Prosecutors said Kleiman, who called 911, first claimed the shooting was an accident, but then changed his story to say he opened fire in self-defense after wrestling the gun away from Calvache.

Prosecutors hoped to pin Kleiman for murder, saying the shooting was no accident. He faced 40 years to life in prison.

But a judge’s ruling last week significantly weakened the prosecution’s case. The judge said Hillsborough police violated Kleiman’s Miranda rights after the killing by continuing to interrogate him after he requested an
attorney.

Prosecutors said they had to settle for a no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter. Kleiman faces up to seven years in state prison when he is sentenced March 23.

Patricia Calvache called the result an injustice.

“Watching people go in and out of that courtroom, seeing such heavy penalties and fines for far lesser offenses, it’s horrible,” the sobbing mom said Monday.

But Calvache himself was no angel, said Chuck Smith, Kleiman’s attorney.

The gun used to kill Calvache was his own, and he had an entire arsenal of weapons in his San Francisco apartment, Smith said, citing evidence from police or federal
officials.

There were seven previous incidents in which Calvache allegedly pulled guns on people, the defense attorney said. He also operated a grow house and received “thousands” of OxyContin pills monthly from doctors, either to abuse or sell, he said.

Calvache’s mother denies several of the claims as a smear campaign.

Kleiman has prior convictions for felony drunken driving and evading police, and for misdemeanor assault, authorities said. According to the San Jose Mercury News, he told his attorney he wants to marry and start a family when he is released from prison.

maldax@sfexaminer.com