This story just keeps getting better as you read: Man acquitted in romantic bear-spray squabble:
A San Francisco man was acquitted Thursday of breaking into his ex-fiancee’s house and assaulting her new lover before getting sprayed with bear mace by a shirtless neighbor. Jurors deliberated for just three hours before finding Christoper Hall, 31, innocent of the two felonies.
The “chaotic and confusing” night began on March 25 when Hall broke off his plans to marry his 34-year-old fiancee, said Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets. The two had met in a hacky-sack circle in early February and announced plans to marry just two weeks later, Streets said. But the relationship quickly turned tumultuous, Streets said, and the pair broke up on March 25.
Hall took his few possessions and moved out of his fiancee’s home and into a tree at Mclaren Park. But as Hall climbed the tree and attempted to sleep that first night, he became cold and returned home, Streets said. Hall’s former lover was not there, so Hall “curled up under a tarp under the woman’s backyard bushes,” Streets said.
Around 10 p.m., the woman, who had been at the movies with a “new male friend,” returned home. The man “happened to be a former U.S. Marine with extensive combat training,” Streets said. As the woman and her new friend talked in the kitchen, they heard noises outside and decided to investigate. The woman armed herself with a knife while the friend grabbed a frying pan, Streets said.
As the pair approached Hall, he looked up and began yelling and running after them, Streets said. “As the woman closed and locked the door in Hall’s face, his hand went through the window pane,” Streets said. Hall opened the door and grabbed the Marine, demanding to know who he was. The pair fell backward and scuffled for 90-seconds, Streets said. The Marine eventually put Hall in a headlock and encouraged him “to take deep breaths and relax,” Streets said.
During the fight, the woman fled and told a neighbor that Hall was going to kill the Marine, Streets said. The neighbor “ran out of his house shirtless and armed with an aerosol can of bear repellant,” Streets said. The group hauled Hall outside, and he kicked the door, prompting the neighbor to open the door and spray Hall in the face with bear mace, Streets said. Hall then picked up a rock and hurled it at the door before fleeing the scene, Streets said. He was arrested several hours later.
Streets said that jurors did not convict Hall because they did not find Hall’s ex-fiancee to be a credible witness. The Marine also suffered no apparent injuries, Streets said. “There was no doubt Mr. Hall had a terrible night, but this case was grossly overcharged,” Streets said. “You cannot commit a burglary if you have the right to be in a building. Mr. Hall had paid rent, made improvements to the house and still had some of his belongings inside.”
Hall was facing seven years in state prison for the felonies. He was found guilty of misdemeanor vandalism.
My favorite bit — and admittedly, it’s a hard choice — is when the guy moves out of his house and into a tree. Oh hippies, I love you so much.