Jury begins deliberations in 2004 ballpark slaying

A jury now will decide whether a man accused of a fatal stabbing after a San Francisco Giants game is guilty of murder or if he acted in self-defense.

Rafael Cuevas, 26, is accused of stabbing Timothy Griffith, of Redwood City, during a fight Sept. 17, 2004, behind what was then SBC Park.

The melee apparently started after Griffith hit the passenger-side window of Cuevas’ recently purchased Toyota Corolla, Cuevas’ attorney Michael Gaines told the jury Wednesday.

At least two of Cuevas’ friends testified that Griffith’s friend Carlos Ortega punched Cuevas in the neck and tried to strangle him. They also said Griffith threw the first punch.

But prosecutor Harry Dorfman called the testimony lies.

“A big lie that was spread all around this courtroom. … That Carlos Ortega choked the defendant,” Dorfman said. “That never happened.”

In order for a defendant to claim justifiable homicide, they have to make a good effort to stop a conflict. Cuevas and his friends never shouted for the fight to stop, Dorfman said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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