Ex-UC Davis student pleads not guilty in deadly stabbing spree

A former UC Davis student pleaded not guilty Friday in a deadly spree of stabbings near the university. Carlos Dominguez, 21, made his first appearance in Yolo County Superior Court in relation to the series of stabbings that killed two people, injured a third and terrorized the college town for nearly a week. 

His face expressionless, Dominguez spoke several times during Friday's court proceeding, saying "Yes" to confirm his name and whether he understood the nature of the legal proceedings.

His public defender entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf to all charges.

Carlos Dominguez, center, stands at the his first appearance in Yolo County Superior Court in relation to the series of stabbings that terrorized the college town for nearly a week.

The judge ordered Dominguez held without bail at the request of prosecutor Matthew De Moura, who said the crimes were "of such an egregious and dangerous nature to the community that it took two lives and almost caused a third person her life."

Dominguez has been charged with two counts of murder in stabbings two days apart. 

The victims were David Henry Breaux, a local fixture known as the "compassion guy" and UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm. Dominguez was also charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a third victim, Kimberlee Guillory, in her tent.  The 64-year-old woman survived the attack after receiving surgery at a nearby hospital. 

Dominguez is from Oakland and attended Castlemont High School, where he was on the football team and once had dreams of becoming a doctor.

He attended Laney College in Oakland before transferring to UC Davis, where he studied biological sciences before being kicked out for academic reasons on April 25, just two days before the first attack.

"We see the kind of meltdown of society, you could say, where the guardrails are off around appropriate reasonable kind of behavior," said Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. "There must have been a variety of things that led up to that dismissal that we don't really know about, and that resulted probably in a great deal of anger and acting out."

Many young people are able to respond adequately to setbacks, Plante added, but some do not and either react inwardly by harming themselves – or lash out at others.

"I think it speaks to the fragility of a lot of people," Plante said, "especially young people that just can't handle the stresses and strains that come their way."