Community resident Janice Smith shows off a shirt honoring the deceased children.

As the last of sunlight faded Thursday evening, Bayview residents and a community group gathered on Navy Road to remember Justice Alma A., 5, and Paragon Maya A., 1, who were killed two days before Christmas in the apartment they shared with their mother and father. 

The girls’ mother, Paulesha Green-Pulliam, 34, has been charged with  two counts of murder. 

Green-Pulliam pleaded not guilty last week in San Francisco Superior Court, but court documents obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle Friday show Green-Pulliam allegedly admitted the crime to police. 

At Thursday’s memorial just outside the apartment where the two girls were found,  residents from the public housing complex in the Bayview and District Attorney Brooke Jenkins held hands to sing, pray and remember the two sisters.  

“This is a very hard event to even know that two of our angels” are gone, said Pastor April, cupping a coffee in her hands. “But God has them.”

Candles by the apartment of the deceased. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken Jan. 5, 2023.

At 7:37 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, San Francisco police officers from the Bayview Station responded to a report of two “unresponsive juveniles” at Navy Road, according to a police statement. The victims’ father called the police, according to a statement by the District Attorney’s office. Once officers arrived, the girls’ parents directed them inside the house to the bodies, the police statement continued. The girls were pronounced dead on scene. 

If convicted, Green-Pulliam faces life in prison without possibility for parole.

Thursday’s memorial aimed to begin the healing process and to support the community following the tragedy, said Maika Pinkston, a nearby resident and the director of the community nonprofit From the Heart. The group stood by the family’s door, where neighbors had gently laid candles and bouquets. 

Residents and Jenkins wanted to make it clear that if anyone is experiencing a mental health issue they should reach out to those nearby to get some help. 

“We’ll be there as long as God shines on The Hill,” Pinkston said. 

Janice Smith, a nearby resident and advocate, wore a shirt she had bought with the girls’ portraits on it: It showed Paragon dressed in pink, smiling shyly, and her elder sister in midst of a laugh, clapping her hands. Neither child’s eyes met the camera, and blue floral clips decorated each girls’ hair.

At the pastor’s request, Smith sang a song she had learned for the occasion. “I know you both are dancing in the sky. I know you both are singing in the angel’s choir,” Smith sang. 

One woman passed out bags of lavender to attendees. 

The Public Defender’s Office, representing Green-Pulliam, requested on Dec. 30 that Green-Pulliam take medical and mental examinations before her next appearance, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. An inquiry to the Public Defender’s Office was not immediately returned to Mission Local. 

Attendees on Thursday also took the opportunity to discuss mental health. Pinkston and Smith have attempted to rally the community in recent years over repeated violence like shootings nearby; last year victims who made headlines included a woman who was shot dead in her apartment, and two women who were shot, killing one and sending the other to the hospital. 

“Please just come and let somebody know what’s wrong, and then we can at least step in and like this and say a prayer,” Pinkston said. “You want to spend a night with a glass of wine, you want some tea? A blunt?” she said, eliciting chuckles. 

“Whatever we gotta do to make sure we don’t ever let nothing like this ever happen again,” Pinkston said. 

District Attorney Bayview Murder Mother
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins hugs Maika Pinkston. Photo taken by Annika Hom, Jan. 6, 2023.

Jenkins, in a bright red coat, agreed. “Check on each other. Follow up. I do think we have got to build that bridge because it’s really easy…to just get into your brain,” Jenkins said. 

“I am here with you all. You know that,” Jenkins told the group of mourners. “Any resources that we need to provide, we will do it. Our goal is to make sure nothing like this happens.”

Neighbors who lived along Navy Road told Mission Local that Green-Pulliam and her family had moved into the apartment no more than four months ago, but few knew them. A spokesperson for Related California confirmed the family moved in the summer of 2022. 

“I saw the girls around, of course,” one neighbor said. 

It appears that the father, who no one named, is not presently staying in the apartment, neighbors added. Thursday’s group wished for his healing, too. 

“Pray for dad,” Jenkins responded. “Lift him up.” 

In court documents that the San Francisco Chronicle obtained, the father came home early in the morning on Dec. 23, and knocked on the door for 15 minutes. He noticed the children did not run down and police said the apartment was a mess. Green-Pulliam prevented him from searching for the children. He found the girls’ bodies in the walk-in closet, sitting on a bench. White foam came from one of the girl’s mouths. He called the police, hysterically crying. 

The residents who gathered at Thursday evening’s remembrance shared similar details about the tragedy. Allegedly the children’s father celebrated his birthday Dec. 22 and returned home late at night, when he asked his wife where the children were, according to a resident who lives in an apartment nearby. 

A woman, who asked to go by her last name Canada, used to live in that apartment where the girls died. She didn’t know the family but offered her condolences. “People need support,” Canada said. 

Meanwhile, Pinkston is grateful the community could mourn and support one another. “It was intimate,” Pinkston said. “I feel like a lot of people walked away feeling better.” 

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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1 Comment

  1. Having children does a lot too your mind and body. ONLY MY OPINION. Being a Mother is hard. Even harder in this dark

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