Bernal Heights man charged with strangling wife believed mentally ill 

A 74-year-old Bernal Heights man accused of murdering his wife last month and threatening arriving paramedics with a knife after stabbing himself in the neck is mentally ill, his attorney said in court Thursday.

Ying Hua Wu was arrested at the scene of the Dec. 9 death of his wife, 72-year-old Hao Mei Wu, who was found that night unconscious on the floor of the couple’s home in the 200 block of Justin Drive.

According to police, when medics arrived to tend to Wu’s wife, Wu confronted them with a knife after he had apparently stabbed himself in the neck. Police said he advanced on them in a threatening manner but was disarmed. Both he and his wife were hospitalized.

Hao Mei Wu, who is believed by prosecutors to have been strangled, was pronounced dead later that night.

Wu, listening through a Cantonese translator in court Thursday morning, was arraigned on one count of “willful, deliberate and premeditated” murder, but postponed entering a plea. He’s also facing assault charges for allegedly threatening the paramedics. His attorney Shannon Dorvall declared a doubt as to Wu’s mental competency to stand trial.

“At this point he’s still in the hospital and really has no idea what’s happening with the proceedings,” Dorvall said outside court.

Prosecutor Michael Swart said the motive for the attack was unclear.

“I think he was probably mentally ill, that’s all,” Swart said.

Both attorneys agreed the case was “very sad.”

Criminal proceedings are expected to be suspended, and doctors will likely be appointed to evaluate Hua Wu at another hearing Friday.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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