SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who attacked two women on San Francisco's Embarcadero was acquitted of felony assault after his attorneys said he suffered a psychotic episode.
George Kennedy was acquitted Monday of the felony and convicted only of a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
Kennedy, who had been jailed since his February 2020 arrest, was released with credit for time served.
Kennedy was 47 when he stabbed a woman in the back as she jogged, rode away on a bicycle and then attacked a tourist about a mile away, authorities said. One of the women required surgery.
At his trial, a witness said Kennedy had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. His lawyers argued he was suffering an acute psychotic episode that meant he didn't commit an intentional attack, which is required for a felony assault conviction.
“Cases like this are uncomfortable for all of us who care about the health and safety of our communities. But this case reminds us that criminal court is not the appropriate venue to address mental illness,” said Martina Avalos, the deputy public defender who was Kennedy's lead attorney.
Kennedy, a U.S. military veteran, can now continue receiving medical care through the Veterans Administration, she said.
The district attorney's office respects the jury's verdict, spokeswoman Rachel Marshall said.
“We wish there were — and are continuing to push for — better available tools for addressing mental illness in our legal system,” she said.