Thursday, August 14, 2008

Man Found Guilty Of Torturing Girlfriend



After three days of deliberation, a jury convicted a 51-year-old San Francisco man of stabbing and torturing his former girlfriend in January 2005, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris announced today.

Francisco Ramirez was found guilty of torture, aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the attack on 38-year-old Sonya Baisden, according to the district attorney's office.

Court documents said Baisden broke up with Ramirez while he was incarcerated in a separate case and that while still in custody he threatened to hurt her.

On Jan. 3, 2005, Ramirez caught a taxi to the hotel where Baisden was staying in the Mission District after being released from jail, according to court documents. Upon his arrival, Ramirez called the victim, telling her to come and pay for this cab ride.

Instead, Baisden told a hotel attendant not to let Ramirez inside but he was able to get in, follow her into her room and lock the door, court documents allege.

Ramirez then attacked Baisden with a set of steak knives she had bought that day, according to the district attorney's office. Baisden was stabbed in the left and right thigh, the left abdomen and the right shoulder blade.

Court documents said the blades broke off in the victim's body but that Ramirez continued to stab Baisden even while she cried out. He then took out two more knives and slashed her face twice.

The jury handed down their verdict Wednesday, additionally finding Ramirez guilty of special allegations of great bodily injury involving domestic violence and burglary.

Although Baisden cooperated with police and prosecutors, the district attorney's office said she did not testify during the trial.

"This was a unique situation where prosecutors were able to try this gruesome and calculated case of domestic violence using testimony and evidence initially presented at the outset of the case," Harris said in a prepared statement.

"Although we understand the concerns that many domestic violence victims may have moving forward with a case, it is imperative for the prosecutors to have victims' ongoing involvement in order to convict these offenders," she said.

Ramirez is scheduled to appear back in court Tuesday to set a date for sentencing. The district attorney's office said the maximum statutory penalty for torture in life in state prison.

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