REDWOOD CITY -- Less than two months after attempted murder charges were dropped against a Marin County personal trainer accused of trying to throw his wife off the San Mateo Bridge, the Mill Valley father of three was sentenced to probation and released from jail Friday.
Xavier McClinton, 48, was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and 104 hours of domestic violence counseling for the Dec. 13 incident his defense maintained was a "paranoid episode." McClinton's wife, who was rescued by good Samaritans and does not remember much of the incident, said she still loves the man prosecutors alleged tried to kill her and told the court she did not wish to see him serve time in jail.
"We had a victim that was reluctant, and still wanting to be in contact with him," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said of the decision to drop the attempted murder charge. "It was decided by my prosecutor to find the middle ground."
McClinton pleaded guilty April 7 to the lesser charge of felony domestic violence on the condition that he would receive a maximum seven years in prison. In addition to probation, counseling and psychiatric treatment, he was ordered to pay a $400 fine to the Battered Women's Fund and $200 to a domestic violence shelter.
McClinton's wife testified that her husband was hearing voices during their car ride down the Peninsula, and was convinced that someone was trying to hurt them. He began driving erratically and warned, "If I go down, you go down," a statement prosecutors interpreted as a threat.
The defense argued it was his reason for not stopping -- he thought "they" would get his wife, too.
"He wasn't Xavier. He was someone else," his wife testified. "I didn't know what he was going to do."
Multiple witnesses said the pair were in "mutual combat" with arms flailing as the car swerved in and out of lanes. The woman grabbed the wheel to crash the car and "end the situation," hitting the left guard rail before ricocheting across all lanes.
McClinton got out and lifted his wife across lanes of traffic, holding her in his arms as he tried to fall backward over the rail. Bystanders pulled her to safety as McClinton fell 15-20 feet into the water, where he remained for about 30 minutes before he was found clinging to a pier.
While McClinton suffered no major injuries, his wife received a major gash to her face that required extensive suturing. She told investigators she could not remember how she acquired the wound.
McClinton's attorney, Anthony Brass, said his client was aware he suffered from paranoid episodes that were escalating, and that he called police two days before his arrest to request a mental evaluation. He was sent home after authorities determined he was not a threat.
The man had been taking psychiatric medication for one day when the incident occurred, he said. Forensic psychologist William French testified in February that McClinton does suffer from bipolar disorder and paranoia.
McClinton was released from jail Friday, and will immediately begin serving out the terms of his probation, Wagstaffe said. The man returned to his family's Mill Valley home after nearly six months behind bars in San Mateo County.