SEATTLE - Family members say Francisco Calderon is a tormented man suffering from mental illness.
He’s had 72 convictions, 15 of those for assaulting people, many times randomly. He showed up to Municipal Court on Wednesday accused of an outrageous incident that has garnered national attention.
Police say he threw coffee on a 2 year-old boy in downtown Seattle.
The toddler's father says they were visiting downtown Seattle from Florida. They were on Pine Street when he saw Calderon harassing people.
“He did a crescent turn around took a cup of coffee and threw the coffee on my kid while he was sleeping,” Daynard Butler said.
Butler says he was shocked and punched Calderon a couple of times in defense of his son, worried he would come after the toddler again.
"He probably knew the coffee wasn’t hot enough to hurt my kid and he was probably looking for a way to go back to jail,” Butler said.
On Wednesday, Calderon’s sister confirmed Daynard’s theory.
“He knows that’s a terrible thing to do, but he’s so desperate to get back in there,” Ana Calderon Barnett said.
Barnett says the last time he was in jail Calderon said he didn’t want to leave.
“His words were 'I am afraid, I don’t want to leave,'” Barnett said.
Barnett says her brother does not know how to survive in the outside world.
“He hears voices and he talks to those voices, sometimes that will result in violent behavior,” Barnett said.
Barnett says her family noticed signs of mental illness at a young age. She says her brother was physically and mentally abused as a child.
“They have been very traumatic and drug use does not help that,” Barnett said.
City Attorney Pete Holmes and Judge Edward McKenna have been at odds with how to handle the repeat offender. McKenna, believing he is a danger to the community, gave Calderon the maximum sentence of a year in jail for a 2018 assault. McKenna rejected the city attorney’s plea deal of releasing Calderon to get mental health treatment. And on Wednesday, defense attorney Chad Law took shots at Judge McKenna again, pointing out that his ruling went against the recommended treatment.
But Barnett says she supports McKenna's ruling.
She says she wants attorneys to know that her brother will not follow through with treatment if he is let out on the streets.
“Frankie would not seek mental treatment on his own, let us just keep our citizens safe. I love my brother dearly, but I know he should not be out on the streets; that to me is the most important thing,” Barnett said.
Barnett says the 53-year-old needs involuntary commitment.
“Yes I think it should be for the rest of his life,” Barnett said.
The toddler’s father says he’s grateful his son won’t remember his time in Seattle, he’s just worried that Calderon will do it again to someone else.
“Put him in a mental home, put him somewhere he can’t go out, somewhere he can get some help,” Butler said.
In the end, Judge Anita Crawford-Willis said Calderon posed a risk to the community and that her job was to keep the public safe. She set his bail at $50,000.
His next court hearing is set for Aug. 5.
Calderon was initially set for a hearing on Tuesday in felony court, but the King County Prosecutor’s Office declined to prosecute. When questioned about the reasoning, Dan Satterberg’s spokesperson said despite the outrageous crime and Calderon’s extensive criminal history, they were ethically bound to follow rules laid out by the legislature.
“Throwing coffee on a child is horrible and abusive behavior. Due to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) patrol’s response we were able to answer the questions we needed to determine the appropriate charges in this case. We learned from the police report that the child, thankfully, did not appear to have been injured in any way and we were told that the child received no medical treatment. In other words, the facts of this particular case didn’t support this being a felony. That said, we were able to refer the case to Seattle Municipal Court to ensure the offender was kept in custody,” King County Prosecutor Spokesperson Dan Katzer said.