Trial to begin in postgame slaying

While Giants fans are anticipating opening day, the family of a 21-year-old killed outside a baseball game more than three years ago is still anticipating opening statements.

The wait may soon be over. Jury selection began Wednesday and the trial could begin as soon as next week for Rafael Antonio Cuevas, of San Francisco, who is accused of killing Timothy Griffith, of Redwood City, by stabbing him in the heart during a scuffle, reportedly over bumping into the defendant’s car.

The killing happened Sept. 17, 2004, about 10 p.m. The ballpark was still called SBC Park, and Barry Bonds had just hit his 700th home run against the San Diego Padres. Griffith was walking through the parking lot after the game with a friend and “bumped” Cuevas’ four-door Toyota, prosecutors say.

Cuevas and four others got out of the car and confronted Griffith, prosecutors say, then began to beat him and his friend, Carlos Ortega.

Ortega escaped the beating with his life, but Griffith was stabbed several times. He died a short time later at San Francisco General Hospital. Police called the stabbing a “senseless and horrible crime over nothing.”

Cuevasfled The City after the killing, prompting a nationwide manhunt. As he was attempting to enter Mexico at Nogales, Ariz., with his family, border guards noticed his name on a warrant list and detained him.

Cuevas faces a charge of murder. His out-of-custody co-defendant, Jeffery Skifich, is also facing charges of beating Ortega.

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