SAN FRANCISCO - The man accused of stabbing two women at a San Francisco Muni stop entered not guilty pleas in court. The city's district attorney was in court himself on this case.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin said he wants to take the lead on this case, saying there have been too many incidents of crimes against Asian Americans, but at the same time, saying at this point he will not be pursuing this as a hate crime.
A San Francisco judge formally read the charges against 54-year-old Patrick Thompson, the man arrested for stabbing two older women last Tuesday.
The hearing was delayed from Friday, when Thompson's public defender said his client refused to come to court. That same public defender entered not guilty pleas on Monday.
"We acknowledge receipt of the complaint and discovery, waive further instruction and advisement of rights, enter pleas of not guilty, deny any and all allegations," said Eric Fleischaker from San Francisco's Public Defender's Office
The incident sparked national outrage. Both victims are of Asian ancestry; one woman 85-years-old, the other 63. Both women survived the attack, but District Attorney Boudin said he felt the need to step into the courtroom himself to prosecute the case.
"I'm outraged at the violence against the vulnerable elderly members in our community," said Boudin. "We've seen a wave of violence against Asian American Pacific Islanders in particular. Enough is enough."
But, District Attorney Boudin said at this point he will not pursue hate crime charges in this case. "Here, based on available evidence, we could not even prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew they were Asian, much less that their identity is what motivated the crime."
The city's lead prosecutor said at this point he does not know the suspect's mental health status, but said he is preparing for claims that Thompson was mentally ill at the time of the stabbings.
"I certainly anticipate that the defense would use Mr. Thompson's prior interactions with mental health service providers as a defense," said District Attorney Boudin. "We're going to be prepared for that defense and any other defense that they may throw at us."
The suspect in this case was ordered to remain in custody without bail. He is scheduled to be back in court Thursday.