Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

Trigger Warning: This story contains content that some may find disturbing.

A Mission District resident on trial for a brutal 2014 stabbing testified today in his own defense, claiming that fear drove him to stab 20-year-old Ronnie Goodman, Jr., 39 times. 

Luis Gutierrez, 29, testified in San Francisco County Superior Court that Goodman and his friend had punched and provoked him earlier that night, before the situation escalated. 

“I just felt very afraid. I didn’t know what was gonna happen next,” Gutierrez said of why he followed Goodman, then stabbed him repeatedly with a knife, including in the face, neck and eyes. He testified that he had no other recourse at the time but to stab Goodman, and said that even after the 30th stab, Goodman, who had no weapons, still posed a threat to him. 

Gutierrez has been charged with murder, torture and assault with a deadly weapon. 

During the stabbing, Goodman allegedly told Gutierrez he loved him, which seemingly agitated Gutierrez even more. “He said, ‘I forgot to tell you I love you,’” Gutierrez said today. “I started screaming, ‘f*** you, n-word.’” 

Prosecutor Sean Connolly of the District Attorney’s office brought up Gutierrez’s past statements, in which he told investigators that he wanted to take out Goodman’s eyes, that he knew Goodman was dead when he ran from the scene, and that if he had caught Goodman’s friend, he would have killed him, too. 

Luis Gutierrez’s booking photo. Courtesy of SFPD.

Today, Gutierrez walked back those claims and denied any desire for revenge. 

“My mental illness had made me say things I didn’t mean to say,” he said, to scoffs and grumbling from Goodman’s family, who sat in the audience. 

After landing in the county jail, Gutierrez was placed in a psychiatric unit, according to a jail Behavioral Health Services worker who also testified today. 

Ian Albert, the Department of Public Health employee who evaluated Gutierrez and requested his transfer out of the jail’s general population, reviewed his notes from 2014 and said today that he found Gutierrez to be possibly delusional and paranoid. His records from 2016 showed Gutierrez was diagnosed as schizophrenic, though it is unclear when this diagnosis was first made. 

After an earlier altercation near Mission Street, Gutierrez and his older brother, Javier Gutierrez, allegedly tracked down Goodman just before midnight near 24th and Capp streets, where he stood outside a liquor store with a friend. 

When the two brothers approached the two friends, Gutierrez testified today, Goodman swung a bottle at him, which smashed on the ground. 

Goodman then crossed the street, moving away from the liquor store, and Gutierrez said he followed. Although he admitted that both he and Goodman were running, he denied chasing Goodman. “I was following him to see what he was going to do next,” Gutierrez said. 

There, on the northeast corner of the intersection, Gutierrez testified to pulling out his knife and stabbing Goodman. His brother allegedly used a Taser on Goodman and kicked him, though Gutierrez today denied any knowledge of this. 

Last week, witnesses recounted what they saw and heard that night: screaming, cursing, and two men violently attacking another until he went limp. 

Gutierrez has been in jail since he was arrested weeks after the Sept. 9, 2014, incident. After the stabbing, both Gutierrez and his brother were caught on a surveillance camera in nearby Cypress Alley; the San Francisco Police Department circulated the video to the community to locate the two suspects. The footage was shown in court today, and Gutierrez pointed himself out on the screen for the jury.  

His brother, Javier Gutierrez, has also been in jail since 2014, and is set to be sentenced next month as part of a plea agreement. 


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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. I lived in the same building as these brothers when this happened, and knew them to be kind, non-intrusive, and upstanding guys who lived with their sweet mother. We used to walk our dogs together at night. I can’t imagine how they could have done this and up until now assumed it had to be a misunderstanding. This is mine boggling and mental illness is the only logical cause

  2. This happened in 2014? Allegedly mentally I’ll so did he receive treatment for his illness while in jail? Why jail and not a hospital if mentally ill? Carried a knife, chased the victim down, stabbed thirty nine times and brother tasered the victim. Why is the brother being sentenced now? Was he mentally I’ll also?
    Eight years ago this happened? What took so long for the trial or diagnosis of these two suspects. Is this justice for the victims family to wait eight years and/or is this justice for the suspects to be jailed for eight years? Something is way off and wrong in our system if this took eight years to move to trial