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A San Francisco Norteño said he’d left gang life behind. He just got 33 years for killings

A man holding a bottle holds his arms up.
Fernando Madrigal claimed he had left the Norteño gang. Here, he is seen in a photo from court documents showing his tattoos, one of which reads, “Long Live Lil Panch.” | Source: Courtesy U.S. Attorney's Office

A San Francisco man who said he was a reformed gang banger but never left the Norteño gang was sentenced Thursday to 33 years in prison in his federal racketeering case that involved two murders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Fernando Madrigal appeared with supporters in federal court Thursday afternoon for his racketeering sentencing. The charges included the killing of Day’von Hann, a 15-year-old whose family was also at the hearing. 

Madrigal was charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which is often used to prosecute organized crime groups such as gangs. 

After the sentencing, supporters of Madrigal and Hann’s family argued, and a melee ensued, forcing police to come to the courthouse, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Screen shot of a man with a gun.
Local authorities used screengrabs from Fernando Madrigal's Instagram as evidence in the federal murder case against him. | Source: Courtesy Northern District Court Records

Madrigal pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to shooting and killing two people, including Hann and another victim, Luis Garcia, whom he shot from behind during a robbery on July 12, 2018. Madrigal dumped Garcia’s body in the Oakland hills; the remains were not discovered for two years, according to court documents. 

Madrigal shot and killed Hann at 24th and Capp streets on July 8, 2019, in what federal authorities said was part of a gang feud between Norteños and their rivals in the Mission. Hann was mistakenly targeted, authorities said. Hann lived in Army Street Gang territory at the Bernal Dwellings.

Soon after the killing, Madrigal joined a rally on the steps of City Hall, along with Supervisor Hillary Ronen and Hann’s mother, to call for an end to street violence. Madrigal, who said he renounced violence and the gang life, even embraced Hann’s mother at the event. Madrigal did not admit to either killing until after his 2020 indictment. 

Family and friends of Madrigal said in correspondence to the judge that he has the potential for reform. 

“I strongly believe that Mr. Madrigal will evolve beyond his worst mistakes,” wrote Project Rebound’s C. Jason Bell to the judge. Project Rebound is a San Francisco State University project aimed at helping formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into society. 

But federal authorities said in a motion that even in custody Madrigal “engaged in violent and manipulative behavior,” which included a 2023 extortion scheme in which he impersonated his court-appointed attorney. Later that year, he stabbed an inmate at Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, court records say.

“These recent criminal acts belie any claim that Madrigal is genuinely committed to rehabilitation,” wrote federal prosecutors.

Madrigal was indicted in 2020 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for allegedly murdering Hann and Garcia and shooting a third victim who survived. Madrigal pleaded guilty in the case. 

The Norteños claim the territory of 24th Street between Mission Street and Potrero Avenue, while their rivals at the time, the Army Street Gang, claimed an area south of 24th Street. Meanwhile, another group, the Sureños, claimed territory to the north and west. 

A woman stairs into the distance at a hearing.
District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen apologized for not doing her "due diligence" when offering her support to Madrigal. | Source: Juliana Yamada for The Standard

Earlier this year, Ronen apologized publicly to Hann’s mother for aiding Madrigal without having knowledge of his street gang activities. 

“In an awful twist of events, the man who later admitted to killing Day’von was someone I had previously tried to help,” Ronen said in September at a Board of Supervisors meeting attended by the victim’s mother, Sha’ray Johnson. 

Ronen later explained in an interview with The Standard that she “wrote a letter a little to help someone too quickly without doing my due diligence” and that she “will never make that mistake again.”

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at

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