Simon Martial, the homeless man accused of killing Michelle Go, has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
At the time of his arrest, Martial, 61, confessed to fatally shoving Go in front of an oncoming train in the Times Square subway station on Jan. 15. He said he did it “because I’m God.”
The suspect also claimed that Go “stole my f*cking jacket.” But investigators believe the incident was unprovoked and that the pair had no prior interaction.
Martial has reportedly been arrested 10 times since 1998. He was also briefly incarcerated after robbing a taxi driver in Greenwich Village in 2018.
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Martial’s sister, Josette, told the New York Post that he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, cycling in and out of mental hospitals for at least 20 years. His lawyer, H. Mitchell Schuman, told the New York Daily News that he has been hospitalized 24 times. The assistant district attorney requested two weeks to review the mental health evaluation. Schuman reportedly expects the office to “confirm” the findings, which means Martial could be locked up in a mental health facility instead of jail.
The 61-year-old has reportedly been in Bellevue Hospital since his arrest. He was unable to appear in court on Tuesday.
While Go’s death is not being investigated as a hate crime, it has escalated fears among New York City’s Asian American communities, which have suffered from increased violence since the onset of COVID-19. Critics have also slammed the city’s criminal justice policies as being too lenient, blaming them for the recurring crimes committed by repeat offenders.
However, the wave of attacks has also shed light on the city’s need to address its mental health problem. Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, hopes Go’s death and Simon’s unfitness to stand trial will catalyze the city into tackling the issue.
“Our heart goes out to Michelle Go’s family for the trauma they have to relive as this case makes its way through the legal system,” Yoo said in a statement. “This case, and so many others that involve mentally ill perpetrators, only reinforces the urgent and immediate need for our City’s elected leaders to increase their investment in mental health resources for all communities of color.”The case was reportedly adjourned to April 19.