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James Rickleffs, Man Charged With Murdering San Francisco Hairdresser, Makes First Court Appearance

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As James Rickleffs, the San Francisco man accused of murdering 28-year old hairdresser Steven "Eriq" Escalon during a June robbery, made his first appearance in court earlier this week, the city's District Attorney George Gascon issued a warning to the San Francisco's gay male population.

"Be very careful who you take home," Gascon urged to Bay City News at a press conference on Thursday, noting that gay men taking home strangers they meet at bars in the Castro have increasingly become the victims of crime. "The consequences can be very dire as they were in this particular case."

Escalon's bound and gagged body was discovered by his roommate in their shared apartment on June 12. Escalon allegedly met the 45-year old Rickleffs the previous evening at the popular gay bar 440 Castro. Escalon took Rickleffs back to his Diamond Heights apartment, which Rickleffs then ransacked, leaving Escalon for dead.

Following the murder, police handed out fliers in the neighborhood looking for Rickleffs, who was seen carrying a flat screen television from Escalon's apartment.

At the time of his arrest in early September, Rickleffs had in his possession personal items belonging to Escalon and was on probation from a previous grand theft conviction.

Rickleffs has been charged with one count of premeditated murder and one count of first degree residential robbery.

San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr told KTVU that the department is still looking for more information about about Rickleffs. "We're looking for anyone who has had any contact with the suspect," said Suhr.

Anyone with relevant information on Rickleffs should call Sgt. Scott Warnke or Inspectors Daniel Dedet, Kevin Jones or Robert Valverde from the department's homicide unit at (415) 553-1145.

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Filed by Carly Schwartz