Woman denies fatally stabbing man

January 6, 2009 2:02:31 PM PST
A San Francisco woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court to fatally stabbing her 18-year-old ex-boyfriend, the father of one of her three young children, last week in the city's Western Addition neighborhood.

Judge Paul Alvarado set bail for 27-year-old DeEbony Smith at $200,000, after her attorney Teresa Caffese noted Smith had filed a restraining order in August against 18-year-old Lazarus Pickett, found stabbed on the morning of Dec. 29 outside a home in the 600 block of Larch Way.

Citing a court report, Alvarado said the couple had a "long history of domestic violence." He said he didn't believe Smith was a danger to the community.

Caffese told the judge there were "a lot of extenuating circumstances" surrounding the stabbing, and that Smith has three minor children to care for and is not a flight risk.

"She's certainly not a danger to anyone," Caffese said.

"I believe that after the facts are disclosed, this will be something much different from how it was charged," she said.

Pickett was found at about 10 a.m. outside a home around the corner from where Smith lived with her family, also doors away from where Pickett lived, according to Caffese.

He died at the hospital later that night.

Caffese said Smith "did the right thing" by turning herself in to police on Friday, after learning she was wanted in connection with the incident.

Smith pleaded not guilty today to one count of murder with an allegation of use of a deadly weapon.

"We're aware of no facts that support self-defense," Assistant District Attorney Linda Allen told Alvarado Tuesday, though her request to set Smith's bail at $5 million was denied.

Allen said witnesses to the stabbing reported overhearing Smith admitting that she had "stabbed the nigger."

"I know I'm going to prison for this, but I have to make sure to take care of my baby, before I turn myself in," Allen quoted Smith as reportedly saying.

According to Caffese, Pickett was the father of Smith's 2-month-old girl, and even after the restraining order was filed, he was allowed to live about three doors down from Smith and her family.

Smith had been evicted from her previous home because of Pickett, Caffese claimed outside the courtroom.

"She was a struggling mother trying to do the right thing, in a violent environment," Caffese said. "Here she becomes another casualty. It's very sad."

"I am very confident," Caffese said, "she did nothing wrong."

Smith remained in custody this morning. She is due back in court Wednesday morning to set a date for her preliminary hearing.