A jury acquitted a man of carrying a concealed weapon after hearing that he had borrowed the gun for protection in the Sunnydale neighborhood, according to the San Francisco Public Defenders Office.
Jurors acquitted Johnny Stone, 23, of Reno, Nev., on Thursday after five hours of deliberation, and hung on a second misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. The judge dismissed a third charge, possession of nunchaku.
Stone was arrested Sept. 9, 2009, while visiting family members in the Sunnydale housing projects. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Arial Boyce-Smith, said that he had borrowed the gun for a trip to the car to retrieve baby food and diapers for his crying niece, after hearing gunshots in the area earlier that day.
Stone testified during the trial that he had been robbed on a previous visit to the area and that a cousin had been shot on the same block.
"The defense was one of necessity," Boyce-Smith said. "It was clear Mr. Stone took the gun solely for protection. He was acting in an emergency and it was necessary for him to have the gun to protect himself from great bodily harm."
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the jurors had used "common sense."
"Mr. Stone's fears about being robbed or hurt were justified by his prior experiences in the neighborhood," Adachi said. "When his baby niece needed to be fed shortly after gunfire rang out, he considered it an emergency and took the precautions he felt were necessary."