SAN FRANCISCO (AP/CBS SF) -- A man charged in the brutal stabbing of older two Asian women at a bus stop on San Francisco's Market Street last week pleaded not guilty and was denied bail Monday.
A handcuffed Patrick Thompson, 54, was silent during the short court hearing. Public defender Eric Fleischaker entered the not-guilty plea on his behalf to charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse. Both women were expected to survive after Tuesday's attack, authorities said.
The stabbing comes amid a wave of assaults against Asian Americans — many of them elderly — in San Francisco and across the country since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S.
In the latest attack in San Francisco, authorities haven't said whether the women were targeted because of their ethnicity. Fleischaker has said it was not racially motivated and that his client has suffered mental health issues his entire adult life. Thompson was denied bail.
Thompson was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, but refused to come to court from jail.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose approach of stressing restorative justice over mass incarceration has come under fire, last week said he will prosecute the case himself. Besides asking that Thompson be held behind bars until trial, Boudin also asked that Thompson stay at least 150 yards (137 meters) away from the victims and the corner in downtown San Francisco where the attack took place. The judge agreed.
Thompson thrived for nearly two years while on a rigorous, court-mandated mental health diversion program but the lack of social services due to the pandemic negatively affected his mental health, Fleischaker said.
A witness said Thompson was carrying a large knife with knuckles on the handle and without warning, attacked the women as they waited for a bus.
"The knife punctured one victim's lungs, requiring extensive surgery," the district attorney's office said. "A knife had to be removed from another victim at the hospital."
KPIX 5 learned from a police source on Wednesday that Thompson has a long and troubled criminal history, with more than two dozen arrests in the last 20 years. He was placed under a psychiatric hold at least once and, in 2019, was arrested for battery.
KPIX 5 also learned that in 2017, Thompson was arrested for stabbing a person at this homeless shelter on 5th and Bryant Streets with a pair of scissors. Police say it was another unprovoked attack.
The DA's office said Thompson's last arrest was in April of 2020, when a judge issued an arrest warrant for missing court. When he was arrested on that warrant, he was in possession of a drug pipe.
Fleischaker asked the judge for a hearing on Thompson's detention, which was scheduled for Thursday.
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
for more features.