Vido Opusich was tried in Judge Lawlor’s court in March 1901. He pleaded Not Guilty, by reason of insanity and self-defense.
The San Francisco Examiner wrote skeptically, “Opusich, who claims to be only 21, but appears to be older, shot and killed John Petrovich, an old man, in the Dalmatia saloon, on Pacific and Stockton streets, on June 10, 1900… The jury considered the case for six hours. Ten jurors wanted to return a verdict of murder in the first degree, but the remaining two jurors held out for a verdict of second degree, which was finally agreed upon.”
Vido Opusich was born in Grad Dubrovnik, Dubrovačko-neretvanska, Croatia on January 9, 1881.
Opusich immigrated to America at age 14, exactly five years before he shot and killed Napoleon. At the time of the murder, he was employed by a Sansome street commission house as a fruit packer and living in the Colombo Hotel, on Broadway.
In the early evening of June 10, 1900, a 19-year-old Croatian immigrant named Vido Opusich was on a mission. He was searching the streets of San Francisco for John Petrovich.
Petrovich was a 45-year-old waiter, commonly known by his nickname, Napoleon. He worked at a coffee house on the corner of Sacramento and Leidesdorff streets. At last Opusich found him at The Dalmatia, a saloon at the corner of Stockton and Pacific streets. The waiter was slightly drunk when Opusich entered the saloon and spotted him standing beside the bar.
Witnesses told police Opusich approached Napoleon, snarling something in a foreign tongue. The waiter jumped and immediately moved toward the street but Opusich pulled a revolver from his pocket and shot him. The bullet passed through Napoleon’s hat and lodged at the base of his brain. But he did not collapse. Instead, he staggered out of the saloon and into the street. Opusich followed him, firing three more shots.