gavel.jpgA homeless man accused of fatally stabbing another transient in Golden Gate Park on Sunday night was arraigned on a murder charge at a contentious hearing in San Francisco Superior Court this morning.

Richard Ray, 65, postponed entering a plea to one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon and was ordered held on $1 million bail. A public defender was appointed for him, and he is due back in court Monday.

Police arrested Ray at about 9:40 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of stabbing 25-year-old Adam Noyes near Conservatory and John F. Kennedy drives. Noyes was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Ray had flagged down passing cars and told a passerby that he had been stabbed. He later told officers that Noyes had attacked him with a knife and that he had fought back and stabbed Noyes, police said.

Both men are believed to have frequented the park.

In court this morning, prosecutor Braden Woods called the stabbing “an unprovoked attack.” He said Noyes was found with defensive wounds to his hands and had been stabbed in the heart. A bloody knife was found in Ray’s pocket, he said.

Woods then sparred with defense attorney Rebecca Young of the public defender’s office during the hearing before Judge Donna Allyson Little over his request for a stay-away order to protect Ray’s ex-wife.

Woods said the woman is a potential character witness in the case, as Ray has had several prior contacts with police for trying to break into her house and for his “anger management” issues, he said.

Young said the order was unnecessary and accused Woods of “grandstanding for the media” in the courtroom.

“The public’s protected–a million dollars’ (bail)!” she said to Little.

Little, however, agreed to sign the stay-away order.

Outside court, Young said the defense might challenge the murder
charge on the basis of self-defense. She said Ray was cut on the head during the encounter, and that Noyes was found with an open pocketknife in his pants pocket.

“The physical evidence doesn’t match his story,” Woods countered.

Young said Ray has no prior convictions in California.

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