28-year-old man acquitted in killing of Nob Hill roommate 

A 28-year-old man accused of murdering his Nob Hill apartment roommate was acquitted by a jury Wednesday, after claiming he acted in self-defense to what his lawyer called “one of the greatest human indignities.”

Waheed Kesmatyar, once orphaned from war-torn Afghanistan, testified he killed 67-year-old Jack Baker after the older man raped him, and lunged at him with a knife when he tried to leave their apartment. The prosecution argued during trial the killing happened because of an argument over rent money, alleging Kesmatyar had staged the scene to look like a break-in.

Baker was beaten, strangled and stabbed to death. Kesmatyar was found not guilty of first-degree murder and lesser charges, Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced.

Deputy Public Defender Hadi Razzaq during trial painted Kesmatyar as a life-long victim of sexual trauma who, the night he killed Baker, reacted the way someone suffering post-traumatic stress disorder would.

Razzaq revealed his client was raped at age 12 by a friend’s father and attempted suicide in a park by stabbing himself in the stomach. Prior to the killing, Kesmatyar and Baker were friends who smoked marijuana together in the apartment they shared.

The night he killed Baker, Kesmatyar is said to have awoken to find Baker sodomizing him. Kesmatyar froze in response to the pain, Razzaq said, and “‘just laid there and waited for him to finish what he was doing.’”

After the rape Kesmatyar tried to leave the apartment but Baker stopped him, and a struggle ensued. Kesmatyar shielded himself from a kitchen knife-wielding Baker who sliced at his little finger, causing him to spread blood around the apartment.

But Baker dropped the knife, and the defense said a “terrified” Kesmatyar grabbed hold of it, and stabbed Baker at least 26 times in the face before strangling him with a cord and breaking some of his ribs. In total, Baker suffered 82 traumatic injuries.

Kesmatyar was expected to be released from custody Wednesday after more than four years incarcerated, according to a press release from the Public Defender’s Office. His parents wept with joy when the not guilty verdict was read.

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