SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The man accused of assaulting a woman in front of her San Francisco condo building was back in court Wednesday, but will remain in custody after additional assault charges weren’t dropped as expected.
25-year-old Austin Vincent is being held for criminal threat and assault charges he received for an alleged incident back in February. Due to new evidence brought by his attorney, those charges were expected to be dropped Wednesday morning. Instead, he’ll have to wait.”
Vincent was in court for all of 90 seconds Wednesday. He faced a different judge than the one who has been presiding over his case so far, which meant his case will be held until Thursday and he will remain in jail for the time being.
“This is an example of how public hysteria can impact the accused and how fear and ignorance can victimize the mentally ill,” said Vincent’s attorney, Saleem Belbahri.
Belbahri says his client has been in jail for nine days for a crime he did not commit. Three people misidentified Vincent as the person who attacked a woman with a knife on the Embarcadero in February.
The public defender’s office was then able to prove that Vincent couldn’t have been the suspect because he was in Southern California at the time, forcing the district attorney’s office to drop those charges.
“Misidentifications occur often from eyewitnesses,” said Belbahri.
The initial release of Vincent just days after he was booked for the early morning August 11th attack on San Francisco resident Paneez Kosarian outside the lobby of her condo building known as the Watermark has sparked a growing controversy.
Vincent’s release from jail by Judge Christine Van Aken has drawn criticism from San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Police Officers Association among others.
He was later taken into custody after new charges were leveled against him for the alleged February attack.
The DA’s still office wants Vincent to remain in custody.
“Given the totality of these circumstances, we do believe strongly that the appropriate way to proceed with this case is to keep him in,” said Alex Bastian with the SF District Attorney’s Office.
Vincent’s public defender argues he should be placed back with assertive case management. He says Vincent had been in full compliance and receiving housing and counseling.
Whether Vincent will be released or not will be the judge’s call on Thursday.