Jury Rules Man Stabbed Roommate to Death in 2011 in Self-Defense

Jurors acquitted a 28-year-old San Francisco man on Wednesday after he testified that his 67-year-old roommate had raped him and that he acted in self-defense when he killed him in 2011, according to the public defender’s office.

Jurors found Waheed Kesmatyar not guilty in the death of Jack Baker, according to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

Kesmatyar testified before the jury that the night of the killing he woke up to Baker sodomizing him at their apartment in San Francisco’s Lower Nob Hill neighborhood. When Kesmatyar tried to leave the apartment, Baker held him at knifepoint, cutting Kesmatyar’s finger when he raised his hands, according to the public defender’s office.

The two men engaged in a struggle as Kesmatyar attempted to gain control of the knife. Once he had gained control of the knife, he began stabbing his attacker, Deputy Public Defender Hadi Razzaq said.

Police found Baker when they responded to a request for a well-being check at the apartment at about 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2011.

Baker was found dead in his apartment. He had been beaten, stabbed and strangled, police said.

Kesmatyar was not at the apartment when police found the body but physical evidence at the scene was linked to him. He had been roommates with Baker since October 2010, police said.

Kesmatyar was already being held in Marin County Jail on unrelated charges when he was served with the arrest warrant for murder.

On Wednesday, he was cleared of all charges after spending four years in custody and is to be released today, Razzaq and Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Johnson said. Kesmatyar faced life in prison if convicted.

“Kesmatyar truly believed he was going to die. As far as he was concerned, he was fighting for his life,” Razzaq said.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the verdict exonerated a man who fought back after a lifetime of trauma.

According to the public defender’s office, Kesmatyar was an orphan in war-torn Afghanistan and after being adopted by a couple in Marin County, a friend’s father later molested him.

The public defender’s office had a neuropsychiatrist testify during the trial that Kesmatyar suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and that his reaction to being violated by Baker was consistent with someone who suffered a lifetime of trauma.

Baker and Kesmatyar met while working together at Macy’s and Baker invited Kesmatyar, then 18 years old, to smoke marijuana at his apartment. Baker befriended the teen and convinced him to move into his residence, Kesmatyar’s attorneys said.

Kesmatyar testified in court that he would frequently come home to find Baker openly watching pornography and masturbating in the apartment.

Kesmatyar’s attorneys supplied the jurors with evidence from the apartment indicating an apparent sexual assault had occurred, including candles covered in condoms and an open packet of lubricant with a receipt from Baker’s credit card.

According to the public defender’s office, Kesmatyar’s parents, who had attended each day of their son’s trial, wept with relief when the verdict was read.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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