A parolee who savagely stabbed a 15-year-old girl and another man at a bakery in San Francisco's Twin Peaks neighborhood in 2007 was sentenced to life in prison today.
A San Francisco Superior Court jury in March convicted Scott Thomas, 29, of two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated mayhem for the unprovoked attacks on teenager Loren Schaller and 60-year-old Kermit Kubitz at Creighton's bakery on May 19, 2007.
Thomas had been mistakenly released from San Quentin State Prison the previous day. He was arrested near the bakery after the attacks.
Prosecutor Scot Clark today called Thomas "a remorseless, sadistic psychopath" who "poses a unique, grave threat to public safety."
With both Schaller and Kubitz and their families in the courtroom this afternoon, Judge Suzanne Bolanos noted the attacks showed "a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness" and that the victims "were particularly vulnerable."
Bolanos sentenced Thomas to 19 years in prison plus a life term. He will have to serve at least 26 years before he is granted a parole hearing.
Both Kubitz and Schaller's mother Linda read statements before the sentence was announced.
Kubitz, who had come to Schaller's rescue and was stabbed in the chest and side, described the horrific attack on Schaller.
"Initially, the stabbing actions of this man were so rapid that I did not even see the knife, instead all I saw was the repeated spurting of blood as each blow struck" her, Kubitz said.
Schaller was stabbed five times, her jugular vein was severed, and she nearly bled to death. A medical doctor who happened to be walking in the area saw the attack and rushed to stem the flow of blood until paramedics arrived.
Kubitz suffered a punctured lung.
"I am unable to recall the incident without emotions welling up," Kubitz said, his voice cracking. He added that his wife now believes he is "obsessed" with statistics about violent crime.
Linda Schaller told Bolanos that her daughter had gone to the bookstore earlier that "beautiful, sunny Saturday," but that at about 4 p.m., she got a phone call that "every parent dreads."
Schaller rushed to the bakery in time to find the exhausted doctor, Sang Ick-Chang, soaked in her daughter's blood, telling her that her daughter had been stabbed but was still alive. Her daughter did, however, suffer permanent damage to her arm.
"She will carry the physical scars from him the rest of her life," Schaller said. "The emotional scars will be a question for the future."
Both Kubitz and Linda Schaller questioned how Thomas could have been released.
"Neither Loren or Mr. Kubitz were in the wrong place -- Scott Thomas was," Schaller said.
Thomas had been released on parole that Friday from San Quentin after serving nearly four months for a parole violation. He had previous convictions for grand theft auto, hit-and-run, petty theft and vandalism.
The state Office of the Inspector General later concluded that several mistakes had been made -- including that Thomas had been improperly released directly into the community instead of to his parole agent.
According to Clark, Thomas was given money for a bus ticket to his home in Los Angeles, but instead he stopped in San Jose, bought a knife, and came to San Francisco with a plan to find a "vulnerable" victim.
Thomas' attorney, Stephen Rosen, had argued that his client was severely mentally ill.
Thomas had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and after the jury hung on the sanity phase of the trial, Thomas decided to withdraw the plea - against Rosen's advice - and be sent to prison.
Thomas did not make a statement today.
While Thomas will be up for parole in 26 years, Clark expressed doubt that he will ever be released from prison.
"I would be stunned if a parole board...would ever let this guy out," he said.