A 29-year-old man convicted of attempted murder earlier this year for stabbing two people, one a 15-year-old girl, at a San Francisco bakery in 2007 asked a judge today to withdraw his insanity plea and send him to prison.
A San Francisco Superior Court jury found Scott Thomas guilty on March 2 of two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated mayhem for the May 19, 2007, attacks at Creighton’s bakery in Twin Peaks. He had had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Two bakery patrons, high school student Loren Schaller and 60-year-old Kermit Kubitz, were injured in the attacks.
Schaller was attacked first, and Kubitz was stabbed when he tried to intercede. Schaller nearly bled to death.
Though the jury agreed Thomas committed the crimes, they could not agree whether he was legally insane at the time. A mistrial on the sanity issue was declared on April 5, and a retrial is still pending.
Thomas’ attorney, Stephen Rosen, advised trial Judge Suzanne Bolanos today of his client’s wish to withdraw his plea against Rosen’s advice.
Rosen instead asked Bolanos to declare a legal doubt as to Thomas’ mental competency.
“I do question his competency…because of the longstanding, well documented nature of his mental illness,” Rosen said.
Rosen added that it was difficult for him to “see that someone would rationally choose to spend the rest of their life in prison, when they have the opportunity, the chance, for a much different result.”
If a second sanity trial were to find that Thomas was been legally insane at the time of the crimes, he would be sent to state mental hospital. If found legally sane, he would be face life in prison.
Schaller and her family attended today’s hearing in hopes that Bolanos would accept Thomas’ change of plea and sentence him to prison.
But Bolanos said she would review a recent doctor’s report on Thomas, as well as attorneys’ court filings on the issue, before making her decision. The case returns to court July 16.
Rosen argued at trial that Thomas, a parolee who had been mistakenly released from prison the day before the stabbings, was severely mentally ill, thought of himself alternately as God and the devil, and wanted to kill people in order to send them “to another dimension.”
Rosen claimed Thomas’ mental illness robbed him of choice.
Prosecutor Scot Clark said Thomas clearly knew what he was doing, having bought a bus ticket to San Jose and a knife, prior to coming to San Francisco looking for a “vulnerable” victim.
Clark acknowledged Thomas has “obvious psychological issues” but argued he possessed the intent and deliberation to commit the crimes and was legally sane at the time.
Thomas had been released on parole from San Quentin State Prison 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.