Attempted murder and other state charges were dropped for a woman accused of repeatedly stabbing an 18-year-old Indiana University student of Chinese descent in the head on a bus while she continues to face a federal hate crime charge in what authorities said was a racially-motivated attack.
Attempted murder, aggravated battery and battery by means of a deadly weapon were dismissed in the Indiana case against Billie Davis, 56, on April 25, according to online court records. She had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Kyle Dugger, an attorney who represented Davis in the state case, said in a court motion in January he was seeking an insanity defense on her behalf and she “is incapable of assisting in the preparation of her defense because of mental illness,” The Associated Press reported.
“Ms. Davis has a long, documented history of severe mental illness,” he said, according to the AP. “She was seeking help managing her condition up to and including the day of the alleged attack.”
Davis was indicted by a federal grand jury last month for the Jan. 11 attack. The indictment accused her of willfully causing bodily injury to the victim and attempting to do so using a knife because of the victim’s race and national origin, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release. The indictment also alleges that the offense included an attempt to kill the victim, officials said.
Law&Crime sent an email Saturday seeking comment for an attorney listed in federal court documents as the attorney representing her in the federal case.
The victim told investigators she was standing and waiting for the exit doors to open on a Bloomington Transit bus when another passenger began striking her in the head, Bloomington police said in a release.
The attack happened on Jan. 11 at 4:45 p.m. on a Bloomington Transit bus, the Bloomington Police Department said in a news release.
She told investigators a passenger struck her repeatedly in the head, causing “immediate pain,” as she stood and waited for the bus doors to open at her stop, officials said.
Bus surveillance footage showed the suspect and victim had no interactions before the attack, police said.
After the attack, the suspect got off the bus but was eventually arrested after a witness followed the suspect and told police her whereabouts, authorities said.
Davis was booked into jail for battery. She was charged with attempted murder after doctors determined the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds to the head, police said.
Davis allegedly told investigators she did it for her “being Chinese,” and this “would be one less person to blow up our country.”
After the attack, James Wimbush, the vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs at Indiana University, said the case was a sad reminder that “anti-Asian hate is real and can have painful impacts on individuals and our community.”
“No one should face harassment or violence due to their background, ethnicity or heritage,” he said. “Instead, the Bloomington and IU communities are stronger because of the vast diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture. To our Asian and Asian American friends, colleagues, students, and neighbors, we stand firmly with you.”
The university’s Asian Culture Center held an emergency meeting after news of the attack. Some students expressed concerns for their safety. Others recalled times they witnessed or experienced racial discrimination while riding the bus.
“We should not be fearing for our lives on public transportation,” the center said in a statement. “Taking the bus should not feel dangerous.
“The fact that the perpetrator announced that race was the motivation for her attack sends a jolt through our Asian community.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]