gavel.jpgA 67-year-old convicted murderer released from a state mental hospital two decades ago is facing new charges of attempted murder after he allegedly stabbed another man in the face at a San Francisco residential hotel last week, according to prosecutors.

Robert Lee Turner is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in San Francisco Superior Court on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury, district attorney’s office spokesman Brian Buckelew said.

Turner, a resident at a hotel in the 200 block of O’Farrell Street in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, allegedly stabbed a 46-year-old male neighbor with a switchblade at about 11 a.m. on April 15.

The victim was attacked only after saying “hi” to Turner as he passed him in the hallway of the hotel, and suffered severe wounds to the face and upper back, according to Buckelew.

Another resident of the hotel ran into the hallway and interceded after hearing screams, reportedly telling investigators, “It sounded like someone getting killed.”

The witness “gave (Turner) commands to stop, which he followed,” Buckelew said.

Turner was convicted in San Francisco in 1965 of assault with a deadly weapon, according to court records.

In 1979, he was convicted of a 1978 murder in San Francisco for stabbing a stranger, a 26-year-old woman, to death as she walked to her car.

Before he was sentenced, Turner was found to have been legally insane at the time of the murder, and was committed to Atascadero State Hospital, according to prosecutors.

Buckelew said it is unclear what Turner’s original diagnosis was, but he was later transferred to Napa State Hospital and released from there in 1989 after it was determined his sanity had been restored.

Turner is being prosecuted under California’s three strikes law, which says that if convicted of a third felony strike, he would face an automatic 25-years-to-life sentence.

He would, however, be returned to a state hospital if he is found to have been legally insane at the time of last week’s alleged attack.

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