SF Chinatown bakery stabbing suspect has significant mental health issues, attorney says

SF Chinatown bakery stabbing suspect has significant mental health issues, attorney says
via YouTube/Sky Link TV Mandarin News
Michelle De Pacina
June 28, 2023
The defense attorney of Fook Poy Lai, the 61-year-old man accused of stabbing an employee at a bakery in San Francisco’s Chinatown, claimed that her client was “unaware of his actions” during the incident. 
The defense: Attorney Diamond Ward is seeking to disprove that the attack last month was a targeted crime. Ward said that Lai is a psychiatric patient who suffers from significant mental health issues.
“Mr. Lai was unaware of his actions on the day of the incident,” Ward said outside a courtroom on Tuesday morning, according to The San Francisco Standard. “He’s diagnosed with schizophrenia. He’s been in and out of the Department of State Hospitals for over a decade.”
The 2016 attack: Ward explained that Lai was transferred to a state hospital after being released on parole in December 2022. He served a nine-year prison sentence for a 2016 attack in which he stabbed an elderly man at Portsmouth Square. 
Last month, bakery owner Henry Chan noted that the man Lai stabbed in 2016 was his father. However, Chan said that his family does not personally know Lai.
The defense attorney claims that the criminal justice system failed to provide support to Lai by discarding him in a halfway home after his hospital discharge. Ward also dismissed reports that Lai’s recent attack was based on his long-time hatred against the bakery and its owners.
“That is absolutely false,” Ward said. “I intend to prove that as the case moves forward.”
SF Bakery attack: On May 29, Lai allegedly stabbed a female employee in the neck at AA Bakery & Cafe in the 1000 block of Stockton Street shortly before 10 a.m. 
The victim, who was working her third day on the job, sustained life-threatening injuries. She is currently undergoing physical therapy and recovering at home.
Arrest and charges: Lai was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with numerous felonies, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery causing serious bodily injury, false imprisonment and second-degree burglary. 
Lai, who faces life in prison if he is convicted on all charges, is expected back in court on Thursday. 
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