Arraignment postponed for man accused in stabbing

July 29, 2010 12:29:55 PM PDT
Arraignment was postponed this morning for a transient accused of fatally stabbing another homeless man at a San Francisco park earlier this week after sheriff's deputies told the judge the suspect was unable to appear in court.

Prosecutors charged Michael Little, 30, with murder for allegedly stabbing Joseph Swim, 33, once in the chest in Buena Vista Park at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The two were drinking with three others at the top of the park, located in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, when Little and Swim began arguing over a woman and Little allegedly stabbed Swim, police and prosecutors said.

Some of Swim's other drinking companions carried him down to the street, where police were called, but Swim was pronounced dead at the scene. Little was arrested later that day in Golden Gate Park.

Little was scheduled to be arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, but deputies informed the judge that Little has been placed in a "safety cell" at the jail and therefore could not appear in court.

A safety cell is used for "a person who is a danger to themselves or others," Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Eileen Hirst explained today.

Such cells are designed to prevent violent or suicidal behavior and are often used for those with mental health issues, Hirst said.

Arraignment on the murder charge was rescheduled for Monday morning. Bail was set at $1 million.


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