gaveldecision.jpgA man accused of throwing boiling cooking oil at his roommate’s face in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in February was found not guilty of assault and battery charges Wednesday, according to the public defender’s office.

Felipe Manrique, 48, was arrested after the Feb. 28 incident at an apartment in the 300 block of Jones Street.

Police had said that Manrique flung the oil at his roommate during an argument, and he was later charged with assault with a deadly weapon, as well as assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury.

However, Deputy Public Defender Matthew Sotorosen argued that Manrique had acted in self-defense and reflexively moved the pan after the roommate had thrown a punch at him.

The roommate had also not paid his full rent for February and Manrique had asked him to leave by the end of the month, causing tension between the two men, according to the public defender’s office.

The roommate was treated for second-degree burns to his face and wrist and was released from the hospital the same day.

Both he and Manrique testified at the trial, which ended with the jury returning not-guilty verdicts on all charges after only 30 minutes of deliberation, according to the public defender’s office.

“What began as a terrible accident became a criminal prosecution with Mr. Manrique locked behind bars until he could explain what really happened,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement. “Mr. Manrique acted reasonably under the circumstances and the jury agreed.”

Manrique had faced a maximum of seven years in prison if he had been convicted of all the charges.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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