In a victory for the Public Defender's Office but not necessarily for the safety of the populus, a 26-year-old man who was identified by eyewitnesses as the attacker in that bloody assault-by-chair last September in the S.F. Main Library computer area was found not guilty for reasons of conflicting eyewitness descriptions.
The accused attacker, Clifton Moore, who was arrested at the library on the day of the attack and reportedly fingered by four eyewitnesses, allegedly approached his 61-year-old homeless male victim from behind with the chair, and the victim was never able to identify him and didn't know what had happened, though he survived his injuries.
As Bay City News reports, Moore was wearing green shorts at the time of the attack, but as Deputy Public Defender Jacque Wilson successfully argued, the four eyewitness statements did not agree about the attacker's appearance until they were given a "cold show" of the detained suspect by police.
Per a statement by the Public Defender's Office:
The first witness wrote that he saw the attack, but could not describe the attacker. The second witness described the assailant as a black man wearing brown pants while the third witness described him as a white man wearing shorts and a hoodie. The fourth witness said the attacker was a black man wearing shorts and a hoodie. By the time they identified Moore in the cold show an hour later, the witnesses had discussed the suspect, "helping" each other with the details, a witness testified during Moore's trial. In police interviews the day after the attack, all four witnesses had changed their initial descriptions of the suspect to that of a black man wearing green shorts.
A jury exonerated Moore in court on Friday after three days of deliberation. He had been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious bodily injury, two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of misdemeanor battery, and he could have faced nine years in prison.
No motive for the attack was given, and the mental state of Moore at the time of the attack was not discussed.