A jury has acquitted a 31-year-old San Francisco woman of first-degree murder and lesser charges, finding that she stabbed her lover in self-defense during a methamphetamine-infused fight in a Tenderloin hotel last year.
The “nightmare” situation ended Friday for Lisa Heng, a single mother of a 10-year-old daughter, according to the Public Defender’s Office. Heng was set to be released from custody Friday after serving more than a year in jail for stabbing boyfriend Matt Sheahan in the heart once on July 18, 2014.
Heng testified during the trial that Sheahan lunged at her when the four-inch pocket knife went into his chest, killing him. She had been holding the knife upside down when it happened, according to testimony from the medical examiner.
Sheahan’s former girlfriend testified that she’d experience a similar incident with Sheahan for which he had been arrested, which helped Heng’s case, according to the Public Defender’s Office. Heng had no criminal history before the murder charge was levied against her.
Heng was represented by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose spirited defense painted Heng as an innocent girl taken advantage of by her meth-addicted boyfriend.
“Lisa was forced to defend her life that terrible morning in the Monarch Hotel. The last thing she wanted was to hurt the man she loved,” Adachi said in a statement. “Thankfully, the jury considered the evidence and ended this nightmare for Lisa and her family. We are extremely relieved.”
The prosecution tried to characterize Heng as an irresponsible mother who was infatuated by her boyfriend, spending the few dollars she had on hotel rooms and methamphetamine.
Heng was facing a first-degree murder charge and could have been convicted on lesser charges of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. Jurors deliberated for two days before determining she was not guilty.
Jonah Owen Lamb contributed to this report.
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