A man who stabbed a female jogger on the Embarcadero last February and then assaulted a second woman with a tool all in a matter of minutes has been acquitted of assault charges for reasons of insanity.
49-year-old George Kennedy, whom the Chronicle described in their initial report on the incidents as a "Florida man with a history of domestic violence" and multiple arrests for things including "criminal mischief," was acquitted by jurors on Monday in San Francisco. As the Examiner reports, defense attorneys successfully argued that Kennedy was experiencing a psychotic episode and that he had neither awareness or intent to justify a conviction.
The incident happened in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 15, and Kennedy was riding a bicycle and wearing overalls and an old-timey train engineer's cap, as seen in a photo below. Kennedy reportedly approached the jogger on his bike near Pier 19 and stabbed her, and 15 minutes later assault a tourist with a tool near Pier 39.
@SFPD took this man into custody this morning, suspected of attacking 2 women along SF’s Embarcadero, both victims suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police say attacks were random. https://t.co/Hg8EwtDeZw pic.twitter.com/02pRLCquz3— Cornell Barnard (@CornellBarnard) February 15, 2020
Kennedy's public defenders said he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and he belongs in treatment. As a U.S. military veteran, he'll receive that from the VA.
"Cases like this are uncomfortable for all of us who care about the health and safety of our communities, but this case reminds us that criminal court is not the appropriate venue to address mental illness,” said Deputy Public Defender Martina Avalos in statement.
Kennedy has been in custody since his February 2020 arrest. He was convicted of one misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest, but he's been released with credit for time served.
"This case is a prime example of how the criminal legal system is not designed to solve our public health and safety problems," said Public Defender Mano Raju in a release.
District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Rachel Marshall said in a statement, "We wish there were—and are continuing to push for— better available tools for addressing mental illness in our legal system."
Photo: Benoit Debaix