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A San Francisco man was acquitted of murder charges this week after jurors found he acted in self defense against drunken acquaintances who attacked him in his home, according to the Public Defenders Office. Phuc Le, 44, was found not guilty Thursday of the murder of Tuan Nguyen, 36, officials said. Nguyen was one of three intoxicated acquaintances who appeared at Le’s door in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, 2010.
An argument broke out when the three allegedly demanded money and turned physical when one of the men, Long Vu, 32, threw a set of Buddhist prayer beads at a shrine set up by Le’s late mother, defense attorneys said. When Lee asked his visitors to leave, Vu allegedly threatened him with broken beer bottles. Le grabbed a kitchen knife to defend himself and in the ensuing scuffle, stabbed Nguyen in the heart. Le stayed on the scene trying to revive Nguyen and called 911, defense attorneys said.
“This is a case of a man who was forced to defend himself against a pair of assailants who attacked him with broken bottles,” Deputy Public Defender Manohar Raju said. “We are grateful that the jury found that Mr. Le acted in self-defense and acquitted him.” Public Defender Jeff Adachi called the case an example of prosecutorial overcharging. “A man attacked with sharp objects in his home shouldn’t have been charged with first degree murder,” Adachi said.
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