Phuc Van Le, 44, was acquitted of murder Thursday after testifying that he brandished a kitchen knife to ward off two men who refused to leave his apartment in the early morning of Feb. 6, 2010, the Public Defender’s Office said.
“This is a case of a man who was forced to defend himself against a pair of assailants who attacked him with broken bottles,” Le’s attorney, Manohar Raju, said in a statement.
Le called 911 shortly after 1 a.m. that morning and led officers to his apartment in the 600 block of Ellis Street, where Tuan Nguyen, 36, of San Francisco was found dead of a single stab wound to the chest, police and prosecutors have said.
Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who worked as a hardwood floor installer and had no prior criminal convictions, was charged with murder.
Prosecutors said at the time that Le, Nguyen and another man had been drinking at the apartment when an argument began, possibly over marijuana, and the third man began smashing beer bottles.
The defense said the fight began after the two men demanded money from Le and one of them threw a Buddhist rosary from the shrine of Le’s dead mother at Le.