Felipe Manrique, S.F. Man Who Tossed Hot Oil in Roommate's Face, Acquitted of Assault
|Man overheats with rage|
A San Francisco jury decided Felipe Manrique, the man accused of tossing hot oil from a frying pan into his roommate's face earlier this year, was not guilty of assault and battery, saying he clearly acted in self defense.
The jury deliberated no more than 30 minutes on Wednesday afternoon before acquitting 48-year-old Manrique, who had never been arrested before. He was facing seven years in prison, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Matt Sotorosen.
SF Weekly readers might recall that Manrique was arrested Feb. 28 after his plans for a late-night snack were thwarted when he got into a heated argument with his new roommate, 49-year-old Pedro Torres.
However, the tension between the two restaurant workers actually started shortly after Torres moved into the Tenderloin apartment on Feb. 1, Sotorosen said.
Torres paid Manrique $200 in rent with the promise he would give him the remaining $100 later that week. But Torres never paid what he owed, and to make the living situation more uncomfortable, Manrique noticed that two of his rings were missing from the bedroom the roommates had shared.
When he asked Torres about the missing rings, he cursed him out.
Fast foward to mid-February when it became apparent Torres had no plans to pay the remainder of the rent. Manrique told him he would have to leave by March 1, and again asked him about the missing rings. This time, Torres exploded with anger, telling Manrique he should beat him up for that kind of accusation.
Manrique testified in court that he was intimidated by that angry exchange.
The day of the fight, Manrique left work, drank two beers at two local bars, and came home to make himself some breakfast. As he heated up oil to prepare scrambled eggs and tortillas, Torres appeared in the doorway and began staring him down, he said.
Knowing that Torres would be moving out soon, Manrique asked him a final time about the rings. Torres "snapped," telling Manrique he was going to "kick his ass" before lunging at him and throwing a punch, Manrique testified.
"Mr. Manrique responded by moving his right hand reflexively in self-defense while holding the frying pan," Sotorosen said. "He did not seek the fight. He did not instigate the fight. He only used force to ward off the attack that had been thrust upon him."
The hot oil spilled into Torres' face. He was treated for second degree burns on his face and wrist and released from the hospital the same day.
Both men took the stand during the four day trial, but "their stories were very different, but the jury found Mr. Manrique to be far more credible," Sotorosen said.
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