SLO stabbing case goes to jury

The credibility of a 19-year-old transient is at the center of a criminal case against a 28-year-old Atascadero man accused of attempted murder.

Lawyers finished closing arguments Wednesday in the trial against Harley Finney, who’s accused of stabbing Chad Robinson at least 12 times July 20 in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Finney has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The case is now in the jury’s hands.

Prosecutor Dave Pomeroy argued that Robinson’s testimony at an Aug. 13 preliminary hearing, naming Finney as his attacker and describing the incident, was too detailed and coherent for it not to be true.

During the trial last week, Robinson said repeatedly that he couldn’t remember who attacked him, and Pomeroy said that Robinson previously expressed concern to the District Attorney’s Office for his safety if he testified.

Pomeroy said that the account Robinson gave to police two days after the stabbing, when he first identified Finney, was remarkably similar to his version of events at the preliminary hearing.

Robinson was telling the truth, the prosecutor said, because it would have been too hard to recall so many details — including his account of an initial fight at Mission Plaza involving a few people — leading up to the alleged stabbing.

“It’s difficult to remember the details of a lie, but it’s easy to tell the truth,” Pomeroy argued.

But defense attorney Raymond Allen argued that Robinson’s waffling about his story is the exact reason that the jury should consider dismissing all of his testimony.

Allen argued that Robinson’s initial account was consistent with his testimony during trial — that he couldn’t recall who attacked him but that it wasn’t Finney.

The defense attorney said that it’s impossible to tell when Robinson was being truthful.

Allen reminded the jury that the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Finney committed the crime.

“There’s no way, in my mind, you can convict Mr. Finney because of the statements of Chad Robinson,” Allen said.