Accused Oakland university mass shooter appears in court, but delays plea

OAKLAND (BCN) — The man charged with seven counts of murder and other charges for a shooting rampage at Oikos University in Oakland in 2012 appeared in court briefly today but his plea entry was delayed until next Tuesday.

One Goh, 48, who now has streaks of gray hair, was recently deemed by court-appointed doctors to have been restored to mental competency, which theoretically means he can now stand trial, defense lawyer David Klaus said after Goh’s hearing today.

However, Klaus declined to comment on what he expects to happen at Goh’s hearing next Tuesday, such as whether a trial date will be set.

Klaus also said, “We don’t know how he’ll plead.”

Alameda County prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew declined to say anything to reporters after the hearing.

Goh is charged with seven counts of murder, three counts of premeditated attempted murder and the special circumstance allegations of committing a murder during a kidnapping and committing multiple murders for the shooting at Oikos, a Christian vocational school located near Oakland International Airport, on April 2, 2012.

Prosecutors say Goh had dropped out of Oikos several months before the shooting and wanted his tuition refunded and targeted an administrator who wasn’t present on the day of the shooting.

But criminal proceedings against him were suspended on Oct. 1, 2012, after his lawyers questioned his mental competency to stand trial. On Jan. 7, 2013, a judge ruled that he was incompetent, citing reports by two psychiatrists who examined him. He was moved to Napa State Hospital a few months later.

However, in July 2015 a forensic psychologist at the Napa facility found Goh competent to stand trial so a judge ordered that he undergo a competency hearing.

In December 2015, at the end of a hearing that spanned eight days over two weeks, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes ruled that he was still mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Rhynes said Goh, a Korean national, suffered from schizophrenia and was unable to assist his lawyers in a rational manner.

Rhynes’ ruling meant that Goh remained at Napa State Hospital to continue getting psychiatric treatment.

Rhynes said Goh’s apparent defense strategy in 2015 was “illogical” in that he wanted to plead not guilty but also wanted to get the death penalty.

The judge said Goh apparently wanted to have a trial so he can have “a platform” to place the blame for the shooting on the university, not himself.

Goh was recently transferred to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin after he was found to be competent, but at the defense’s request, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson ordered today that Goh be returned to Napa State Hospital.

Klaus said the idea is that Goh should continue to get treatment so that he remains competent to stand trial.

Killed in the shooting were students Lydia Sim, 21, Sonam Choedon, 33, Grace Kim, 23, Doris Chibuko, 40, Judith Seymour, 53, and Tshering Bhutia, 38, as well as Katleen Ping, 24, who worked at the school.

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