taxi.jpgA man who robbed and stabbed a San Francisco taxi driver during a meth-fueled episode in January was sentenced today to 15 years in prison.

Bruce Griffin, 27, of Pittsburg, was arrested two days after the attack in the 200 block of States Street near the Castro District, which left a 53-year-old cabbie with life-threatening wounds to his chest and head. The driver later recovered.

Witness accounts and Griffin’s cell phone, which he dropped at the scene, led to his arrest two days later in the Tenderloin.

Prosecutors had charged Griffin with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. He has prior convictions for robbing another cabbie in 2003 and for drug possession.

On Sept. 13, Griffin pleaded guilty to robbery with a knife-use allegation in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.

Griffin also apologized to the cab driver in court that day.

Griffin’s apology “was a spontaneous gesture on your part,” Judge Jerome Benson told him at today’s sentencing hearing.

“It’s pleasing to the court to hear that,” Benson said. “I never hear that.”

According to police and prosecutors, Griffin had flagged down the driver that night and asked for a ride to States Street. Once they arrived, Griffin told the cab to stop and demanded the driver’s money.

While the driver was reaching for the money, Griffin then began stabbing him repeatedly, prosecutors said. The attack continued as the driver left the taxi, and Griffin then fled on foot.

Griffin later told his probation officer that he had been high on methamphetamine at the time, according to court records.

“I’m sure if I hadn’t been under the influence I wouldn’t have done what I did, because there was no need because I had a job,” Griffin said to the officer.

Benson told Griffin today that he “was impressed” by his current attitude, and that his failure to graduate high school, along with other factors in his life, “may have contributed to what’s happened to you.”

Benson said he hoped prison would not harden Griffin and that he would be able to “return to society, so that you can lead a happy and effective life.”

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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