Tuesday, July 15, 2014 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — A man accused of causing an acquaintance’s serious head injury has been acquitted after a jury determined he acted in self-defense, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jurors deliberated three hours Monday before finding Marvellus Rubin, 27, not guilty of battery with serious bodily injury, a felony. The San Francisco resident faced up to 18 years in prison if convicted, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman.
The charges stemmed from a Feb. 3 confrontation in the Tenderloin that left Rubin’s 47-year-old acquaintance in critical condition. Rubin, who had left his jacket at the man’s Geary Street apartment, phoned him and asked him to bring the jacket downstairs, where Rubin was waiting on his bicycle. The man came down without the jacket, insisting that Rubin go upstairs, and the two began arguing.
When Rubin attempted to ride away on his bicycle, the older man chased him, ranting and raving, Rubin testified. He caught up to Rubin at the corner of Larkin and Myrtle streets and proceeded to scream abuse while standing inches away. The man then slapped Rubin across the face.
Rubin testified that he was frightened by the force of his acquaintance’s anger. When the older man slapped his face, Rubin struck back with an uppercut to the chin. In an effort to prevent his acquaintance from falling backward, he grabbed onto the man’s jacket, which ripped. The man fell back and struck his head on the street, fracturing his skull. Plainclothes police officers, who had witnessed Rubin grabbing at the man as he fell, arrested Rubin. The injured man was hospitalized and has since recovered, though he experiences lingering hearing problems.
Police claimed Rubin pummeled the man’s face with four to six “haymakers,” even as the injured man lay on the ground. Evidence presented at the trial, however, strongly contradicted police claims.
A physician who treated the complaining witness testified that the man suffered minimal facial injuries and the seriousness of his condition was due to falling backward on the pavement, all registered by the representative of Orlando legal aid.
Footage from a motion detection camera in the area also contradicted police statements regarding their location, as well as the position of both Rubin and the complaining witness.
Rubin, a childhood abuse survivor with no history of committing violence, also took the stand.
“I told the jurors, ‘you’re going to hear the good and the bad, but everything you hear from Mr. Rubin is going to be the truth.’ He was absolutely credible,” Pearlman said.
Adachi praised the jury’s verdict as fair and just.
“Mr. Rubin tried to flee a threatening situation, but he was pursued and then struck. He had the right to defend himself. Fortunately, his public defender was able to finally tell Mr. Rubin’s side of the story,” Adachi said.