STOCKTON -- A San Joaquin County judge on Monday ordered a former mental patient with a history of violence to stand trial in the Oct. 8 stabbing death of a fellow resident of a Manteca halfway house.
Raymond Lee, 63, and the man he is accused of killing, 52-year-old Mark Alan Wade, were among six patients living at the Northstar Program on Airport Way. The program caters to mentally ill criminal offenders leaving state hospitals.
The other residents had gone on a field trip to the Port of Stockton to celebrate Columbus Day. Wade had stayed home sick. Lee also stayed behind and was making a holiday meal, according to Kelly Foley, a counselor who testified Monday at Lee's preliminary hearing.
Foley said he had been working on charts in his office when he heard a scream from the other side of the house and arrived to find Lee in Wade's bedroom repeatedly thrusting a kitchen knife into Wade's abdomen.
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"He (Wade) was trying to defend himself," Foley said.
"He had his arms around Raymond Lee, and he looked at me for help. I told Raymond Lee to stop, and I had my personal cell phone in my pocket, and I called 911."
He said the call didn't go through.
Meanwhile, he said Lee finished off what Foley estimated to be 10 upward stabs under Wade's rib cage. He described Lee as having his teeth bared, eyes wide open, and drooling and grunting. He said nothing before walking from the bedroom into the dining room and then silently returning to resume stabbing Wade another 10 times, Foley testified.
Foley said he pulled Lee off by his sweat shirt, and Lee turned his aggression on him, he said. "I was assuming I would be the next victim," Foley testified.
But after circling the dining room table after him, Lee obeyed orders to put down the knife, and he placed it in the kitchen sink before walking out of the house, Foley said. Foley then reached 911, and help arrived shortly.
Foley said he was unaware of any other altercation that day.
"There is no evidence that Mr. Lee acted with malice or forethought, as alleged in the complaint," argued his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Vickie Delph.
Judge Ron A. Northup held Lee to answer on charges of murder and an enhancement for using a knife. They carry a combined maximum of 26 years to life in prison. Lee faces a Jan. 22 arraignment. He is being held without bail at the San Joaquin County Jail.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said 10 stabbings followed by another 10 stabbings is awe-striking.
"I don't see any kind of self-defense," he said after the hearing. "At this point, I see solid 25 to life (plus time for the enhancement) but we'll see what kind of mental health challenge they have in mind."
Lee came to Northstar from Napa State Hospital. He had a violent history of mental illness. According to court records filed in San Francisco Superior Court, he was committed to the state hospital system after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to assault with a firearm in December 2003.
In that case, he was accused of knocking a man over the head with a snow shovel, slicing the victim's hand with a knife and then shooting at him after apparently becoming angry because the man's tools were lined up against a fence.
During the hearing Monday, Lee appeared disheveled. He looked downward, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, and his gray hair shot in different directions. His eyes followed people passing through the courtroom as Foley described Lee repeatedly stabbing Wade.
Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2324.