A San Francisco jury has found David Diaz guilty of involuntary manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of a man he had sex with in a city park three years ago.
Prosecutors had charged Diaz, 25, with murder for intentionally choking to death Freddy Canul-Arguello, 23, during a sexual encounter in Buena Vista Park in 2011. But the jury instead decided to go with the lesser charge.
After taking a week to deliberate, the jury issued its decision this afternoon, Tuesday, August 26. The jurors also found Diaz guilty of arson, mutilating human remains, and destroying evidence.
Canul-Arguello’s burned, mostly naked body was found in the park just before 5 a.m. June 10, 2011. The medical examiner’s office listed the cause of death as asphyxia due to strangulation.
Jurors got the case Monday, August 18, three weeks after attorneys in the case made their opening statements.
Diaz, who’s been in custody since his arrest, testified through a Spanish interpreter last week that he and Canul-Arguello had met up in the Castro just hours before the death, decided to have sex, and walked to the park.
They performed oral sex and other acts on each other, and Canul-Arguello asked to be choked, Diaz said. He said he eventually agreed, then noticed at some point that Canul-Arguello had stopped moving. He unsuccessfully tried to revive him, he said.
During the trial Deputy Public Defender Alex Lilien repeatedly called the case “a terrible accident.” Assistant District Attorney Danielle Douglas said in her closing arguments that Diaz killed Canul-Arguello after he “did something that caused the defendant to go into a rage,” and then intentionally burned the body.
See this Thursday’s Bay Area Reporter for more coverage of the verdict.