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Man who stabbed 94-year-old woman gets probation despite prosecutor’s protests

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins looking into the distance with an inset image of a older woman in a hospital bed.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins had asked for 12 years' jail time but the judge ordered probation for Daniel Cauich, who stabbed 94-year-old Anh "Peng" Taylor in June 2021. | Source: The Standard

The perpetrator in a high-profile stabbing case from June 2021 was sentenced to five years of probation and supervision programs at San Francisco Superior Court Friday, despite arguments by the prosecutor that the attacker should be imprisoned for the crime. 

Anh “Peng” Taylor, a Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant who was 94 years old at the time of the attack, was stabbed multiple times in the city’s Lower Nob Hill neighborhood in broad daylight when she was walking down the street. Caught on camera during a period of high-profile attacks on Asian Americans, the incident shook the city.

Taylor fell “in pain, fear and disbelief” after the attack, the District Attorney’s Office said in court documents. Ultimately, Taylor survived the attack.

Police soon arrested Daniel Cauich, who was charged with attempted murder, elder abuse and assault while facing other burglary charges in a separate case.

The case was initially handled by District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who was unseated in a June 2022 recall election. Now the matter is under Boudin’s successor, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

A tight portrait of an older woman smiling.
Anh "Peng" Taylor was stabbed in 2021. Her attacker was sentenced to probation on Friday. | Source: Courtesy Taylor family

On Friday, almost three years after the incident happened, the prosecutor from Jenkins’ office and Lisa DewBerry, who is Cauich’s defense attorney, appeared in court after Cauich pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

The judge, Kay Tsenin, read the sentence and said that Cauich can avoid jail time but is required to enter probation and a strict behavioral and mental health treatment program, which means he will be under intensive supervision in a facility with limited freedom until he successfully finishes the program.

The court combined the attack and another burglary case for this sentence.

A program called the Intensive Supervision Court—intended for high-risk probationers as an alternative to state prison—will decide later what specific programs Cauich will undergo. If he violates any probation rules, he will be sent to prison.

“I am giving you one last chance to stay out of state prison,” Tsenin said to Cauich during the hearing.

Cauich has also waived the days that he has been in custody, roughly 1,000 days, since his arrest.

In an interview after the sentencing, DewBerry defended Cauich and said he has underlying mental health issues and trauma that contributed to the attack. 

“When we were able to get through to him to tell him what he had done, the man cried,” DewBerry told The Standard. “He couldn't believe he did such a thing to her.”

DewBerry acknowledged that the public may find the incident very upsetting but that Cauich harbors no hatred toward the victim.

However, the district attorney opposed the sentencing, arguing that Cauich is a danger to the community and should serve 12 years in prison for the crime he committed.

“[The stabbing] was senseless and horrifying,” Assistant District Attorney Phoebe Maffei wrote in a document protesting the sentence, “and suggests a quick willingness to do harm to vulnerable people within our community.”

Court records included a neuropsychology report that said Cauich had experienced trauma and brain injuries, leading to mental health issues and a substance-use disorder. DewBerry also said Cauich was run over by a car and homeless.

The victim’s family told The Standard that Taylor is doing well at the age of 97.

“After the attack, we moved her to an assisted living home,” Vivianne Taylor said in a text message. “She is well-recovered and doing fine now.”

Han Li can be reached at