Jurors in San Francisco acquitted a 28-year-old woman of murder today for the fatal stabbing of her estranged boyfriend, a day before the one-year anniversary of his death, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office announced.

Lazarus Pickett, 18, was found stabbed outside a home in a public housing complex in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood on the morning of Dec. 30, 2008, according to authorities. He died that night at a hospital.

DeEbony Smith, the mother of their now-14-month-old child, was found to have caused Pickett’s knife wound that plunged 4 to 5 inches straight into Pickett’s chest, puncturing his heart, the medical examiner said.

Defense attorney Teresa Caffese said Pickett had initiated that fight, punching Smith in the eye and holding her against the window until she grabbed the knife to ward him off.

Jurors also acquitted Smith of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

According to Caffese, there were a number of documented threats and violence toward Smith from Pickett, and Smith had been granted a restraining order against Pickett.

Smith reportedly had injuries to her face and wrist when she turned herself in, police said.

Assistant District Attorney George Butterworth had argued Smith’s testimony during the trial that she had been reaching for anything to back Pickett off and that the knife was the first thing she grabbed was inconsistent with other evidence that appeared to show a precise attack.

The jury deliberated for four days before reaching their conclusion, according to the public defender’s office.

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