Attorneys give closing arguments in SF stabbing homicide involving roommates

The trial of a man accused of stabbing his roommate to death in a bloody struggle four years ago neared its end Wednesday as jurors listened to hours of, at times heated, closing arguments by attorneys.

Waheed Kesmatyer, 28, has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of 67-year-old Jack Baker. Police found Baker’s body with numerous stab wounds, with a cord around his neck in the Nob Hill apartment they shared.

Baker’s body had been in the apartment for nearly a week before it was discovered by law enforcement.

Both sides agreed the two men had fought Feb. 5, 2011, at the Bush Street apartment they shared, which resulted in Kesmatyer grabbing a paring knife and driving it into Baker’s face at least 26 times until it broke off in his skull.

Prosecutors say Kesmatyer then took another knife from the kitchen and continued to attack Baker and nearly decapitated him.

Photos of the defendant show he had a cut on his pinkie finger and his knuckles were bruised.

Jurors will have to decide whether Kesmatyer acted in self-defense.

Deputy Public Defender Hadi Razzaq argued his client had been raped by Baker and stabbed him in response.

The defense claims Baker crept into Kesmatyer’s room the night of the incident and sodomized him. But when Kesmatyer tried to leave his apartment after the alleged rape, Baker stopped him and lunged at him with a knife.

The knife fell to the ground, and only then did Kesmatyer pick it up and begin to stab his housemate, according to the defense.

But Assistant District Attorney Diana Garcia contended the violent altercation was instead over rent, saying there’s no evidence of a rape. The prosecutor accused Kesmatyer of staging a break-in after the murder and fleeing the scene.

“Your vote here in this case is final,” Razzaq said to the jury. “There’s not a chance to redo it, there’s not an opportunity for a change of heart down the line.”

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