Bobby Brown - the alleged human being accused of now 5 stabbings and 18 felony counts - is going to plead insanity, apparently.
The attorney for the homeless man who is facing 18 charges in a string of stabbing attacks on Muni passengers and women in the street told a San Francisco judge today that he has doubts his client is psychologically fit to stand trial.
Bobby L. Brown Jr., 30, was to appear before Superior Court Judge Donna Little to answer for the charges, the latest of which, filed Thursday, involved a woman stabbed in the arm on an N-Judah Metro train May 12.
Brown's alleged victims now number five, including an 11-year-old boy badly wounded (nearly murdered) in a stabbing on a Muni bus Sept. 1.
However, the defense attorney's assertion about Brown's mental state puts the entire case on hold.
"I've declared a doubt about his ability to assist me," Brown's attorney, V. Roy Lefcourt, said outside court. He noted that Brown is in the jail ward of San Francisco General Hospital because he is considered a danger to himself or (clearly) others.
"I want him to see a psychiatrist, I want him to be evaluated and I want to see if he needs medication," Lefcourt said.
Brown is scheduled to appear Monday before another judge, who will arrange for a psychiatrist to evaluate whether he is able to assist in his defense and whether he understands the nature of the charges against him.
Lefcourt asserted that Brown is overwhelmed by what is happening. Brown "has had numerous problems" (bad childhood, didn't get what he wanted for Christmas, blah, blah, blah...) and has not been able to get help for his "serious psychological issues," the defense attorney said.
Brian Buckelew, spokesman for District Attorney Kamala Harris, said prosecutors were surprised that Lefcourt had not waited until after arraignment to seek a psychological evaluation. Brown has not entered pleas to any of the felony charges against him, which include four counts of attempted murder.
... and of course the insanity delay was granted...
Criminal proceedings against a 30-year-old homeless man accused of five separate unprovoked stabbings in San Francisco this year, three of them on San Francisco Municipal Railways, were suspended indefinitely today after the man's attorney declared a doubt about his mental competency.
The suspect, Bobby Brown, is facing four counts of attempted murder, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, eight counts of battery and one count of attempted robbery for the alleged attacks.
The attacks include a 41-year-old woman stabbed in the arm on a Muni train May 12; an 11-year-old boy knifed in the stomach on a Muni bus Sept. 1; two women stabbed while walking in the Tenderloin on Nov. 14 and Nov. 26; and a 24-year-old woman stabbed twice with a corkscrew on a Muni train Nov. 30.
Police said the stabbings were all random and unprovoked: the unknown attacker said nothing and then fled. In the Nov. 14 Tenderloin stabbing, he reportedly asked the woman for money before attacking her.
All five victims survived, though the boy nearly bled to death.
Brown was arrested Dec. 1.
But the criminal cases were suspended in San Francisco Superior Court this morning when Brown's attorney V. Roy Lefcourt requested a hearing on "his ability to assist counsel" and understand the nature of the charges against him. A hearing is scheduled for Monday for the appointment of a psychiatrist or psychologist to evaluate Brown.
Brown, who is being held on $5 million bail, was dressed today in a red jail uniform and listened quietly to the proceedings, his head hung low and his eyes cast downward.
When Judge Donna Little told Brown he was going to a different courtroom for Monday's proceedings, he responded, "Alright ... alright."
Brown is being held now in a hospital ward due to his status as "a danger to himself and others," Lefcourt told reporters outside the courtroom.
Lefcourt said he and Brown have "had conversations," but he wanted to make sure Brown understands what his attorney is saying, and that he can receive the proper medication if necessary.
Lefcourt said last week that Brown told him he was not guilty.
"When you have a serious case like this, you have to be able to help your lawyer," Lefcourt said today. "I think he has some serious psychological issues," he added.
Lefcourt reiterated his stance last week that the identification of his client as the stabbing suspect in the five cases was at issue. He also said he has since spoken with members of Brown's family.
"They have been in touch with me, and they're very concerned," he said.
This morning's development, though not uncommon, took prosecutors by surprise as to the timing.
District Attorney's Office spokesman Brian Buckelew said Lefcourt's request was "unexpected."
"The people were prepared to arraign Bobby Brown today," he said, adding that prosecutors have no opinion yet on Brown's mental competency.
Buckelew said all five victims have identified Brown as their attacker through either live, photo or video lineups.
"I'm confident in all five cases," he said.
If found incompetent to assist his attorney, Brown will remain in a custodial status -- typically in a mental hospital, Buckelew said -- until competency is restored and criminal proceedings can resume.
That can take years, if ever.
If convicted, Brown would face life in prison.
A comment to the SFAppeal article said:
"I can also say, from reliable sources, that Brown's competency will be an issue. He was taken quietly by the SFPD because, allegedly, he had no idea what he was wanted for or why he was being arrested. That is a good clue about his mental state right there. The test will be: does he know what he has done, and does he know right from wrong?"
The answer is what does it matter? What does it matter if he knows what he has done? Does that take the knife out of that poor kids' stomach? Does that keep a woman from getting stabbed on Thanksgiving Day in front of her 3 children? Who fucking cares if he "knows right from wrong" or not???
He is clearly a danger to others, if not himself. He has proven again and again and again, that he cannot function in society without committing heinous, atrocious acts (and those are just the ones we know about).
When an insane, dangerous animal is loose on the streets, you kill it. No difference here. You do not take it to the kennel and let it maul the other animals hoping it will get better. You put it out of its misery. It's the humane thing to do.
God... it's amazing that I even have to say this shit.
If "not knowing right from wrong" is enough to get you off an attempted murder rap, then the police just might as well disband right now; there are an awful lot of people in this town who don't know right from wrong.