SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man accused of stabbing two people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood last week, killing one, pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder Monday morning.
According to prosecutors, Arthur Finch, 49, injured a 50-year-old man and killed 61-year-old Veronica Soliz when they separately tried to call police on him after witnessing him assault his girlfriend in the 400 block of Ellis Street last Wednesday.
In addition to murder and attempted murder, the District Attorney’s Office has also charged Finch with torture with the use of a deadly weapon, dissuading a witness with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, domestic violence and assault with force, among other charges, according to court records.
On Monday morning, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Braden Woods ordered Finch to remain in jail without bail. He’s set to return to court on Feb. 27.
Outside of court, Finch’s attorney Peter Fitzpatrick called Soliz’s death tragic and said Finch wished to send his condolences to her family.
Soliz’s killing marks the first and only homicide of 2019 in San Francisco as of Monday.
Court documents revealed that last week’s stabbings unfolded when Finch allegedly pushed his girlfriend against a wall outside of the non-profit organization Mercy Housing.
When Finch took out a knife, the victim allegedly mouthed to a witness, the organization’s janitor, to call police. However, upon seeing the janitor pull out his phone, Finch allegedly chased him into the middle of the intersection of Ellis and Leavenworth streets and stabbed him, court documents said.
After witnessing the attacks, a woman later identified as Soliz called 911 and yelled at Finch to stop. As Finch walked toward his girlfriend’s car in an attempt to flee, Soliz took a picture of the vehicle, according to court documents.
Finch then allegedly yelled at Soliz, “Stop filming me,” and began chasing her. At that point, Soliz, now on the phone with a 911 operator, screamed and said, “Now he’s coming toward me!”
The chase ended when Finch allegedly stabbed Soliz in the head, causing her to fall on the ground.
Afterward, Finch walked away saying to himself, “I’m a bad man,” before fleeing in his girlfriend’s car, court documents allege.
Soliz was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The janitor who was also stabbed took himself to the hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, police said.
Based on witness descriptions, officers were able to apprehend Finch in the first block of Brookdale Avenue in the city’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood, police said.
According to prosecutors, Finch is on parole for a 2009 rape conviction and if convicted on the new charges, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.