The case of Hong Ri Wu created a rift between the Sheriff’s Department and SF General Hospital back in 2011, when the accused double murderer went on a hunger strike and the hospital refused to force feed him. Wu was found guilty in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison, but it looks like his case will be creating some rifts again. The First District Court of Appeal has overturned his convictions, and his case is getting another hearing.
Wu’s case goes all the way back to 2011, when he shot and killed two rival Fisherman’s Wharf shopkeepers in a merchandise dispute. His attorneys argued he was bullied by the victims, Qion Han Chu and Fen Ping Ou, and Wu’s trial was then delayed nearly two years as he was deemed unfit to stand trial due to mental illness.
Superior Court Judge Donald Sullivan ruled in 2014 that Wu was competent to stand trial, and he was found guilty on both counts of murder. Wu did not attend his trial proceedings, except to show up on the day of his ruling and shout a two-word profanity when informed of his guilty verdict.
But an appeals court has recently overturned that verdict, arguing that another hearing is required to determine whether Wu is competent to stand trial.
“This is no surprise. The trial judge rolled up his sleeves and pushed this case out to trial when my client was severely mentally ill and unable to assist me with his defense,” Deputy Public Defender Sandy Feinland said in a statement. “Outrageously, his trial proceeded without him while he was committed to a mental hospital, force-fed, and given medication. Thanks to the Court of Appeal, he can finally get a fair trial.”
So now Wu will receive a new hearing on his fitness to stand trial, and a new trial if he is deemed fit. Meanwhile, prosecutors could appeal the decision or ask the appeal court to reconsider.
“We are weighing our appellate options,” District Attorney Max Szabo said in a statement to the Bay City News.