Video of sausage factory shooting shown at trial

The Associated Press
Tuesday October 17, 2000

OAKLAND — Accused murderer Stuart Alexander reloaded his handguns, walked over to three wounded meat inspectors lying on the floor of his San Leandro sausage factory and shot each in the head. 

That grisly scene is revealed in grainy surveillance tapes shown for the first time Monday as part of an agreement among prosecutors, the public defender representing Alexander and media organizations that viewed the tapes. 

Alexander, 39, who turned on two videotape cameras moments before the shooting spree began, faces state and federal murder charges in the June 21 killings. The Alameda County district attorney’s office has said it will seek the death penalty. 

Alexander’s lawyer said his client “snapped.” 

“This was someone who got pushed over the edge and did terrible things,” said public defender Michael Ogul. 

On the soundless tapes, Alexander is seen grabbing three handguns in his office, loading them, then closing the window blinds. The next scene, from a surveillance camera high above the retail section of the factory, shows the inspectors falling after being shot. 

The black and white tapes show Alexander coming into the room, shooting at prone U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors Thomas Quadros, 52, and Jeannie Hillery, 56, and state inspector Bill Shaline, 57. Alexander runs outside to chase another state inspector, Earl Willis, who escaped unharmed. 

Hillery is lifting her head and moving her right arm, and Quadros appears to be moving, as Alexander re-enters the room. The factory owner reloads, then moves over to each of the inspectors and shoots them several times. 

Alexander, who is seen pacing his office before grabbing the handguns, appears calm during the shootings. 

Shaline was shot six times. Hillery was shot four times. Quadros was shot three times. All died in the factory. 

Ogul said the fact that Alexander shot each victim again and again shows his state of mind. 

“He’s got so much anger here that even though he’s killed them, he’s still shooting,” he said. 

In addition to the tapes, other grand jury exhibits including autopsy photos, copies of e-mails from Alexander and photographs of the inspectors taken by Alexander shortly before the shootings began were released by prosecutors. 

Prosecutors also showed reporters a copy of an e-mail that Alexander wrote Jan. 29 to a friend named Andy: 

“The USDA meat inspectors came in the Linguisa factory on Jan. 3 giving my employees a bad time, so this time was it. I’m taking legal action against these government slimeballs. ... These clowns try to tell The Sausage King how to make linguisa their way. I don’t think so. ... They messed with the wrong guy this time, baby. I almost took out my machine gun and blasted those four losers, but I keep my cool as always.” 

The material was shown to reporters, but as part of an agreement with prosecutors and defense attorneys was not allowed to be duplicated or broadcast. 

Ogul said the fact that Alexander documented the inspectors’ visit proves the killings were not premeditated. 

“It shows that three human beings were killed and it shows who did it, but it doesn’t show much of anything about whether these shootings were provoked, or whether they occurred in the heat of passion. It shows that these shootings happened, not why they happened,” Ogul said. 

The inspectors had come to the Santos Linguisa Factory to cite Alexander for operating without a permit. Alexander called local police for help in removing what he called “trespassers” from his property, then turned on the surveillance cameras and asked his visitors to leave. 

The inspectors are seen on the tape standing around in the retail portion of the factory before being shot. 

“If this is the supposed harassment, they’re not doing anything,” assistant district attorney Colton Carmine said. 

In another e-mail to a friend written just after midnight the day before the shootings, Alexander speaks of his plans to spend June 21 picketing at city hall. 

“He believed they were harassing him,” Ogul said. “He was planning to go to city hall to protest. He was trying to document their harassment.”