Teen girl who was stabbing victim tries to move on as trial begins 

For most high school seniors, picking a college can be the most stressful part of the year. But after Loren Schaller perfects her costume-design portfolio and sends out applications, she has to relive the day she almost died.

Jury selection begins this week in the trial of Scott Thomas, a repeat criminal with a history of bipolar disorder. Thomas stabbed Schaller, then 14, and a 60-year-old man May 19, 2007, inside Creighton’s Bakery in the Twin Peaks area.

Prosecutors charged Thomas with two counts of attempted murder, one count of child endangerment and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. They say he stabbed Schaller in the head, wrist, leg, back and jugular vein. 

Most of the facts are not in dispute, but one thing is: Deputy Public Defender Stephen Rosen said Thomas was not guilty because he suffers from severe mental problems, but Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark is arguing for murder.

“It’s a sad and horrible series of events,” Rosen said. “What happened to the girl should not have happened, but at the time of the incident, Scott Thomas was totally delusional.”

The case not only garnered attention because of the apparent randomness of the attack, but also because Thomas was a “high-control” parolee who had been released from San Quentin State Prison one day before the attack.

The Schaller family sued the state Department of Corrections for mistakenly releasing Thomas unsupervised, but the case was dismissed in February of last year. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch ruled that the prison was not responsible for Thomas’ actions after being released.

Linda Schaller said Friday that the case is being appealed. She hopes that a successful lawsuit will ensure that what happened to her daughter will never happen again.

Kermit Kubitz, a lawyer and Vietnam War veteran, stopped Thomas before he could have killed Loren Schaller. He also was stabbed multiple times, and recently was honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund.

Loren Schaller’s right arm, once lifeless, has been recovering in the years since the attack with the help of renowned St. Louis reconstructive surgeon Susan Mackinnon. As the physical wounds heal, so too do the mental ones.

“She’s been trying to live her life as a regular teenager,” said Linda Schaller. “It’s unfortunate that we have to wait three years to find closure.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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