Jury Rejects Murder Charge, Convicts Elderly Man of Involuntary Manslaughter

San Francisco, CA — A 73-year-old grandfather acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed a drug dealer in the Tenderloin, a San Francisco jury determined Thursday afternoon.  

After seven days of deliberation, jury members unanimously found Leroy Brown not guilty of murder in the Oct. 1, 2008 death of 43-year-old Eric Robinson. The jury convicted Brown of involuntary manslaughter, finding that he had no intent to kill Robinson.

He will be sentenced February 18. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Manohar Raju, plans to ask that Brown be sentenced to probation.

“He has been in jail for 16 months and shouldn’t have to spend any more time behind bars,” Raju said. “While Mr. Brown struggled with addiction, he remained a kind, beloved figure in the Tenderloin.”

The early-morning dispute between the two men began in the 300 block of Ellis Street, when Brown complained to Robinson that Robinson had sold him fake crack cocaine hours earlier.

Robinson responded by slamming the elderly Air Force veteran against a wall and punching and choking him, according to witness testimony during the four week trial.

Brown, who suffers from numerous health conditions, pulled a knife and stabbed Robinson in self-defense.

Character witnesses testified in Brown’s behalf, describing him as a man who volunteered with Glide Memorial Church’s senior program and regularly swept the Tenderloin streets.

Robinson, who was also armed during the incident, had attacked at least four people in the Tenderloin in the year prior to his death, witnesses testified.

Brown had previously worked for California Pacific Medical Center for more than a decade.

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