A 19-year-old man facing murder and elder abuse charges over the death of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee has pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday.
Ratanapakdee, who was originally from Thailand, died from injuries on Saturday after being slammed into the ground by Antoine Watson, NextShark previously reported.
Watson was arrested on Saturday for the seemingly unprovoked attack on Ratanapakdee, reports SF Examiner. Next Monday, a judge is expected to decide whether Watson will be detained pending trial.
Watson’s lawyer Sliman Nawabi has challenged the District Attorney’s Office decision to charge Watson with murder over claims that there was no intent to kill Ratanapakdee.
“Based on what we see as an open-handed push, we will certainly be challenging whether there was any intent to kill,” Nawabi was quoted as saying “There wasn’t. We will also be exploring any altered mental state that might help us understand why this happened.”
Ratanapakdee was on his morning walk last Thursday at around 8:28 a.m. in Anza Vista, San Francisco when Watson rushed towards the victim and pushed him to the ground. Footage of the incident showed Ratanapakdee hitting his head on the pavement before sliding into a garage door. He died shortly after being rushed to a hospital.
The woman, who was initially suspected of being an accessory after the fact, was released, after investigators found no evidence she was involved in the crime.