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Ex-wife of Don Carmignani says jury got it wrong in acquittal of attacker Garret Doty, and she’s furious

When Garret Doty, a transient from Louisiana, was caught on security footage methodically grabbing two metal pipes, putting them together, taking practice swings, then chasing former fire commissioner Don Carmignani down the street to a Marina gas station, where he cornered him and nearly beat him to death, it seemed like an open and shut case. Enter San Francisco’s notoriously ideological jurors. Doty was acquitted, according to Mike Brophy, because he and his fellow jurors agreed that “Carmignani was “just a reprehensible character.” Outside the courtroom, Brophy, a 50-year-old tech worker who has lived in San Francisco about a decade, told the media, “We were all convinced the initial belligerent here was Carmignani … I really don’t like the feeling of my city trying to be an apologist for a known belligerent, a known vigilante.”

Blaming the victim is a classic tactic by defense attorneys, and Carmignani made it easy — footage of a man resembling him spraying homeless people with bear spray and a past that includes domestic violence made him unlikeable to say the least — however, Carmignani wasn’t on trial. In fact, Doty also has a domestic violence arrest for strangulation from his hometown in Louisiana, yet the judge decided that information was “too prejudicial” to allow into the case. Even Carmignani’s ex-wife Yvette Corkrean — who was called as a defense witness — was furious with the outcome of the trial. 

Corkrean, who is running to unseat incumbent State Senator Scott Wiener, told me in an interview that there is much more to the story than the jury heard. She was called as a defense witness, though not a willing one, and she questions why Assistant District Attorney Kourtney Bell didn’t call her instead. Doty’s public defender, Kleigh Hathaway, even drove to Vacaville to retrieve Corkrean’s mother to testify against Carmignani. “Seeing what happened with Don, I’m so mad. The criminals have more rights than citizens,” Corkrean said over matcha lattes in San Francisco’s Japantown. “I have to question whether the prosecution wanted to win or not. Why didn’t they bring up Doty’s past domestic violence? Bell didn’t object much during my testimony, and I gave him the opening. Don and I are in different places. We co-parent our children together. This [domestic violence arrest] was 10 years ago and not relevant in the courtroom. It was tried in the public arena by people who are advocating for the criminals.” 

Corkrean shared multiple emails she sent to public officials asking what they planned to do about Doty camping on Magnolia Avenue in front of her mother-in-law’s home and near her ex-husband’s home, where her children frequently visit. “April 17, 2023, was my first email to the mayor, the DA and Board of Supervisors asking what they were going to do — not one response. On May 21, I sent another letter regarding not receiving a response about my ex-husband’s attack and the safety of my minor children. Again, no response.”

When Doty was released this past May prior to the trial, Corkrean says he showed up in front of the Carmignani homes on the day before Mother’s Day in violation of his restraining order. “My teenaged daughter told me that Doty threatened to rape her and kill her grandmother. I kept them away for several months — I drove them to their dad’s and told them they can’t walk in the neighborhood. He’s taunting my kids from five feet outside of the restraining order.” Nathaniel Roye, one of the men who frequently camped with Doty, even threatened “to stab Don.” Roye, his girlfriend Ashley Buck, and Doty remained for months, blocking the garage. “That’s where my daughter parks her car,” Corkrean wrote to officials on May 21, 2023. “My ex is recovering from life threatening injuries due to complications. [Doty] could go anywhere else in S.F. but chooses to remain at the scene of the crime making threats. I request they be removed — you are all responsible if anything happens to my kids.”

In constant fear for her children’s lives, Corkrean took a week’s worth of photographs showing Doty in the area. “He came back on May 13 and [District 2 Supervisor Catherine] Stefani told me there was a board meeting that included public comment with [the] mayor on May 23, so I went and made public comment for two minutes. By the time I spoke the mayor had left,” Corkrean said, her voice tinged with frustration. “Why didn’t these emails I wrote get to court? When I got off the stand I asked Bell why he didn’t ask me about this stuff and Hathaway tried to grab me and whisper to me how sorry she was and I said ‘your client made my children unsafe. He’s staking out the house.’” 

On Thursday, Jan. 17, 2024, police and medics arrived at Laguna and Lombard streets because Roye was having one of his drug-addled breakdowns. Corkrean took the opportunity to hand police the restraining order requiring Doty to stay 100 feet away from her kids just as Doty crossed the street to be with them. In late January, Corkrean returned to court for the dismissal of the restraining order because her daughter, who recently turned 18, was required to testify in court and she didn’t want to face Doty. After the hearing, Doty’s public defender, Hathaway, repeated what she said after the acquittal — that her client planned to move back to his hometown in Louisiana “to continue a life that was devastated by the trial,” adding that he was “afraid for his life.” 

Doty was arrested Jan. 2, 2024, on Chestnut and Octavia streets after following a building owner through a side gate and into a service entrance, where he began flailing his arms and screaming. The owner made a citizen’s arrest and police removed Doty for a 5150 psychiatric hold, but he was back the next day. 

On Jan. 29, police arrested Doty on suspicion of assault. “At this moment we are very limited in what we can discuss, as Mr. Doty has not been formally charged,” Doty’s attorney Hathaway said in an emailed statement. “If he is arraigned on any charges in the coming days, we expect to be appointed to represent him and may be able to say more as we learn more.” Moments later I received another email that read, “PD: UPDATE (re: Doty 1/30/24) – The DA has decided not to prosecute the case due to insufficient evidence.”

The district attorney’s office said in a statement, “Garret Allen Doty was arrested and cited by the San Francisco Police Department on suspicion of assault on January 29, 2024. The charges against him are being discharged at this time as there is not enough evidence available to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that he committed the alleged crime. Although the charges against Mr. Doty are being discharged, if additional information is developed charges could be filed at a later date.” 

Dismayed that Doty was once again free to terrorize her family and others in the Marina neighborhood, Corkrean scoffed at Hathaway’s assertions that Doty would return home to Louisiana. “Doty, traumatized by the trial and fears for his life, but returns to the scene of the crime and stakes out the family, my children, and his victim who he nearly bludgeoned to death,” Corkrean said. “I will have a very tough time living with myself when something happens to someone else at the hands of Garret Doty.”  

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