REDWOOD CITY (BCN) — A San Mateo County Superior Court judge granted a continuance Wednesday in competency proceedings for an elderly man accused of attempting to kill his wife last July, but the defendant is not expected to survive long enough to make his next court date, prosecutors and his attorney said today.
Prosecutors allege that Tony Gocksue Lee, 85, stabbed his wife seven times in the neck, thigh and abdomen last July 13 at their home in Pacifica.
Lee’s doctors say he is terminal, however, and is expected to die within the next 10 days. If that happens, the case against him will be dismissed, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
“If a person dies there’s nothing else we humans can do about it,” Lee’s attorney Paul Cummins said today. “He’s outside the jurisdiction of the court, I would say.”
Cummins said his client is in intensive care after falling down in jail and suffering a traumatic brain injury. Cummins said as a result of the injury, his client is unresponsive.
“I saw him for 20 minutes and there was just no response.” Cummins said. “I held his hand and told him to squeeze it if he could hear me, but he’s just incoherent, I guess.”
Wednesday’s proceedings were an attempt to determine whether or not Lee is competent to stand trial after two doctors offered differing opinions on that question in December.
“The third doctor never got to see him because this man can’t talk,” Cummins said. “The judge continued (the proceedings) for six weeks for a status report.”
Despite being hospitalized, Lee remains in custody without bail. His competency hearing has been continued to March 18.
Lee’s wife has reportedly recovered from the stabbing she suffered in July, according to Cummins and Wagstaffe.