Bakery stabber to be sentenced to life in prison

Defendant Scott Thomas was convicted earlier this year of attempted murder in a 2007 attack.

July 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A parolee who almost killed a 15-year-old San Francisco girl three years ago will be sentenced to life in prison. A judge issued that ruling Friday after an unexpected request by the defendant.

Defendant Scott Thomas was convicted earlier this year of attempted murder in the attack. Thomas had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but last week, he stunned even his own lawyer by telling the judge he was sane and wanted to change his plea.

"Scott Thomas is a sociopath; he's evil and if he got out again, he would do this again," San Francisco assistant district attorney Scot Clark said in reaction to Thomas changing his plea.

In March, a jury found Thomas guilty of two counts of attempted murder, but deadlocked on whether he was legally insane at the time.

If he was insane, Thomas would have been sent to a mental hospital instead of prison. But last week, he asked the judge to withdraw his insanity plea instead of facing another competency trial.

The attack happened three years ago at a Diamond Heights bakery. Thomas stabbed Loren Schaller and Kermit Kubitz, who tried to help Schaller.

"As I was backing away he kept slashing at me although I had my arm in front of my face," Schaller said.

Schaller was 15 at the time of the attack; she almost died from her injuries. The most serious wound was when Thomas stabbed her in the neck, severing her jugular vein.

Kubitz and Loren's father Tim Schaller were satisfied with the judge's ruling.

"I was always taught that if you do something wrong, you go to prison, and it took a while but it's happened," Tim Schaller said.

"I think we're well served by having him in prison for a long time," Kubitz said.

Thomas, who was arrested at the scene, had been paroled from San Quentin State Prison the day before the attack.

"They were required by their own rules and regulations to take him to Los Angeles on a Monday morning and hand-deliver him to his parole agent," attorney Andy Schwartz said. Schwartz is representing Schaller and Kubitz in a lawsuit against the state.

Instead, prison guards dropped him off at a San Rafael bus stop, a violation of department policy.

The Schaller family and Kubitz are suing the state for compensation. A judge last year threw out their lawsuit, saying the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is not liable for the consequences of Thomas' parole. The victims are in the process of appealing that ruling. They believe they have an even stronger case now that kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard received $20 million last week from the state because of mistakes made by the corrections department.


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