A San Francisco jury Tuesday acquitted a man of murder in the fatal stabbing of another man at a Tenderloin residential hotel last year.
The jury also found 45-year-old Mikel Harris not guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the May 8, 2009, killing of Andre Fluker, 41, but hung on whether to convict him of voluntary manslaughter.
Police found Fluker wounded inside the hotel at 34 Turk St. at about 1 p.m. He died later at the hospital.
Prosecutor Asit Panwala said Fluker and Harris had been friends, and that Fluker came to Harris’ apartment that afternoon to collect some of his belongings he had stored at the apartment.
According to Panwala, Harris had at one point during the encounter been on the phone with a female friend, who testified she heard Harris saying to Fluker, “What are you doing touching my things?”
Panwala and defense attorney Kleigh Hathaway agreed Fluker slapped and shoved Harris and that Harris then stabbed Fluker once in the chest with a knife he had been using to chop garlic.
Hathaway, however, argued the stabbing was an accident. Harris told police he had reflexively raised his knife hand when Fluker came at him, she said.
According to Hathaway, Fluker had a history of violent behavior and had previously been banned from the property.
Well-known private defense attorney Tony Tamburello served on the jury, but he was not immediately available for comment on the case today.
Panwala said today he plans to retry the case on the voluntary manslaughter charge. Harris remained in custody.
On Tuesday, the judge separately found Harris to be in violation of probation he received for grand theft, which could result in a prison sentence of between 16 months and three years.
Hathaway said that with credit for time already served in jail, Harris would likely not have to serve much, if any, additional time on the probation violation.
Harris’ conviction was for in a June 2008 incident in which he robbed an undercover officer conducting a robbery abatement operation in the Tenderloin, Panwala said.