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Monday, August 24, 2009

Court Date Tomorrow for Man Accused of Slaughtering Dog in Church

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Joseph Byrnes
  • Joseph Byrnes
Erstwhile San Francisco artist and drummer Joseph Byrnes begins what could be a long legal odyssey tomorrow. The 41-year-old will be in court for a prehearing conference stemming from his Aug. 9 arrest in a bizarre and disturbing incident.

Byrnes, frequent readers of this site may recall, is the man accused of slaughtering his beloved pit bull Nickel with an axe while nude in a Bernal Heights Catholic church, and telling the arresting officers that he had no option but to do so as the dog was possessed by the devil.

Several of Byrnes' best friends told SF Weekly that their companion had been suffering through a three-year downward spiral in which his bouts of mental illness grew

more and more pronounced. In the last three months, Byrnes' condition appears to have grown markedly worse; he left his job as a cook, lost the room in a friend's home he'd rented for a dozen years, and also lost his spot as the drummer in the San Francisco band The Enablers.

A Sheriff's Department employee told SF Weekly that Byrnes is currently in custody in the city's "observation" area reserved for mentally ill prisoners or those "who need to be kept under a watchful eye."

Calls to Byrnes' public defender, Daro Inouye, have not yet been returned. But it's hardly a leap of faith to postulate that how to proceed in this case considering Byrnes' mental state will be a prime topic of discussion tomorrow morning.

"When Joe is lucid and okay and not suffering from a hyper swing, he's a

really lovely guy. But he's got some problems," one of Byrnes' oldest pals told SF Weekly. "I'm assuming the police

reports are correct. He's a really close friend of mine and this is

breaking my heart"

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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