2/11 12:42 PM:A San Francisco man accused of fatally stabbing an acquaintance during a dispute at his apartment early Saturday pleaded not guilty to murder today.
Phuc Van Le, 42, was arrested after he called 911 at 1:12 a.m. then led officers to his apartment in the 600 block of Ellis Street in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.
Tuan Nguyen, 36, of San Francisco, was found inside the apartment, dead of a single stab wound to the chest.
Police said that when Le met them on the street outside, he had blood on his hands and clothing.
According to prosecutors, Le, Nguyen and two other friends had been drinking inside the apartment when an argument began, possibly over marijuana. Nguyen was stabbed with a kitchen knife.
Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who works as a floor refinisher, has no prior criminal history. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge today through an interpreter.
Le remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail and is due back in court March 11 to set a date for a preliminary hearing to decide if the case should go to trial.
2/10 6:06 PM: A 42-year-old Vietnamese immigrant with no criminal history stood in a San Francisco courtroom this morning to hear he had been charged with murdering an acquaintance during a dispute early Saturday at his Tenderloin apartment.
Phuc Van Le listened through a translator as a judge arraigned him on one count of murder for allegedly fatally stabbing Tuan Nguyen, 36, inside his apartment in the 600 block of Ellis Street.
Police said Le called 911 at 1:12 a.m. Saturday to report the stabbing and flagged down officers in front of his building.
Le had blood on his hands and clothing, and directed the officers upstairs to the apartment, where they found Nguyen dead of a single stab wound to the chest, police said.
According to prosecutor George Butterworth, the two men had been drinking with two other friends inside the apartment.
One of the unidentified male visitors apparently began arguing with Le and smashing beer bottles, Butterworth said. The argument may have been over marijuana, he said.
While Butterworth said it was unclear if that man had been actively threatening Le, he eventually left the apartment.
Nguyen went to use the bathroom, and when he came out, Le allegedly stabbed him with a kitchen knife, Butterworth said.
An investigation is ongoing.
Defense attorney Rebecca Young of the public defender’s office, appearing today on Le’s behalf, said Le has lived in the United States since 1990 and works as a floor refinisher.
Le has no prior convictions, according to the district attorney’s office.
Young said her office was just beginning to receive evidence in the case, but added that cases involving a single stab wound can sometimes point to self-defense.
Plea entry was postponed until Thursday while Le awaits the formal appointment of an attorney. Bail was set at $500,000 and Le remains in custody.