SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A jury acquitted a San Francisco woman who stabbed her alleged stalker in self-defense, attorneys said Monday.

The woman, who was identified only as “Maria” to protect her identity, was put on trial for felony assault charges in connection to an October 2021 incident.

Her attorneys showed the jury evidence that she acted in self-defense against an ex-boyfriend who sent her teenaged children “revenge porn,” according to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

Maria and her ex-boyfriend “briefly dated” in 2018, defense attorney said. After the relationship ended, the man “spent years stalking and threatening her, including recording a sexual encounter without her consent and creating a fake Facebook account to send that video to her teenage children,” SFPDO wrote.

Maria’s co-workers testified as witnesses at trial and said the ex-boyfriend regularly followed Maria to and from work daily. Her children also testified that they received sexually-explicit video from a man they had never heard of.

Deputy Public Defender Will Helvestine argued that Maria acted in lawful self-defense and that the police failed to take her stalking allegations seriously. 

On Oct. 25, 2021, the ex-boyfriend “threatened to send the explicit video to Maria’s other family members unless she went with him to his apartment. Once there, he hit and grabbed her from behind and she believed he was going to rape her. Maria grabbed a kitchen knife and sliced his arm to get away,” the Public Defender’s Office wrote.

Maria stayed at the scene and told police that she acted in self-defense, the SFPDO said. Police arrested her anyway and prosecutors charged her with felony assault.

“I was honored to represent Maria,” Helvestine said. “This egregious prosecution holds up an ugly mirror to the criminal justice system. It shows how police can refuse to meaningfully investigate certain leads, how prosecutors pursue cases based on half-truths in police reports, and how people who are clearly victims can end up being wrongly criminalized.”

SFPDO said police officers left out “key details” from their police reports and failed to translate her full interrogation from Spanish to English.

“Trials are often the only time San Franciscans learn the truth behind certain charges and get a glimpse at the inner workings of the criminal legal system,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju.