A souvenir shop worker at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf who is accused of fatally shooting two employees at a neighboring business in January is asking for the second time to have a new attorney.
Hong Ri Wu, 56, is suspected of shooting Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, and Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, on the night of Jan. 30 inside the souvenir shop where they worked at 269 Jefferson St. Wu has pleaded not guilty to charges in the case.
In June, Wu’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kleigh Hathaway, said in court that she had doubts about her client’s mental competency and his ability to understand the nature of the charges or assist in his own defense.
Criminal proceedings were suspended while a forensic psychologist assessed Wu, and the psychologist’s report came back last month saying he was not competent to stand trial.
At a hearing this morning, for which Wu was not present, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong said Wu has asked again for a hearing to change his attorney from Hathaway, who was court-appointed.
Wu had previously asked the same thing on July 13, but was denied the right to change attorneys after a hearing held that day.
Hathaway said outside of court today that she did not know why Wu no longer wanted her to represent him.
The second hearing on the issue will take place on Aug. 23.
Also at today’s hearing, prosecutors said they are seeking to overturn the competency report by the doctor and proceed with the criminal case against Wu.
A hearing on the competency issue will take place on Aug. 30.
If the judge affirms the psychologist’s report, the case would be suspended indefinitely while Wu received mental health treatment.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News