A San Francisco jury today convicted a man of attempted murder for stabbing two people, including a teenage girl, at a Twin Peaks bakery in 2007 after mistakenly being released from San Quentin State Prison.
Scott Thomas, 29, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the stabbing of 15-year-old Loren Schaller and a bystander who rushed to her aid inside Creighton’s Bakery on May 19, 2007.
After a three-week trial, the San Francisco Superior Court jury this afternoon found Thomas guilty of two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated mayhem.
The jury will now sit through a second trial to determine if Thomas was legally sane when he committed the crimes.
Thomas had been released on parole from San Quentin the day before the attacks after serving nearly four months for a parole violation. He had previous convictions for grand theft auto, hit-and-run, petty theft and vandalism. The state Office of the Inspector General later concluded he had been released by mistake.
Schaller testified at the trial that she had been standing in line at the bakery when Thomas, without saying anything, walked up to her with a knife, cut her across the back of the head and then stabbed her in the side of the neck, severing her jugular vein.
A 60-year-old man who came to help her was also stabbed. A doctor who witnessed the attack helped stabilize Schaller until paramedics arrived.
Thomas was arrested nearby.
Schaller has undergone multiple surgeries and has permanent scars.
She still does not have full use of one arm, she testified.
Thomas’ attorney Stephen Rosen, while not disputing his client committed the acts, has argued that he was legally insane at the time.
He said Thomas told police he was trying to send the people he stabbed “to another dimension.” Rosen argued that Thomas was mentally ill and that the illness robbed him of choice.
Prosecutor Scot Clark maintained that Thomas, though he had “obvious psychological issues,” nevertheless had the intent and deliberation to commit the acts.
Clark said Thomas had been planning to kill someone and came to San Francisco looking for “a victim who was vulnerable.”
The sanity phase of the trial begins Thursday.