Trial again delayed for bus stop stabbing

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 30, 2015

 Terrence Thomas, a 39-year-old Detroit man charged with the stabbing of two people Feb. 14 at a bus stop at Northland Center, appears in the 46th District Court Feb. 25 with stand-in attorney Pamela Johnson.

Terrence Thomas, a 39-year-old Detroit man charged with the stabbing of two people Feb. 14 at a bus stop at Northland Center, appears in the 46th District Court Feb. 25 with stand-in attorney Pamela Johnson.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

Advertisement
Advertisement

SOUTHFIELD/PONTIAC — A local man accused of stabbing two men at a Northland Center bus stop is set to face trial nearly a year after the incident occurred.


On Sept. 28 in Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, it was decided that Terrence Thomas, 39, of Detroit, will begin a final pretrial at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 30 for the stabbing of two men Feb. 14 at a bus stop at the mall, 21500 Northwestern Highway. A trial date is set for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 3.


The case was originally presided over by Judge Rudy Nichols, but according to Judicial Assistant Elizabeth Whiston, Nichols has since retired. The case has now been taken over by retired Troy Judge Dennis Drury until another judge is appointed.


Thomas was arrested Feb. 14 after police responded to a report of an assault at the bus stop at Northland Center. When police arrived, they located two victims suffering from stab wounds.


Southfield Fire Department paramedics transported both victims to Providence Hospital, Deputy Police Chief Nick Loussia said.


A 52-year-old Detroit resident suffered wounds to the head, neck and back. A 51-year-old Detroit man suffered a wound to the hand. Both victims were released from the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Loussia said.


At the time of the incident, both victims told police that the assault stemmed from a discussion of religion.


“I said to myself — not to him — that I’m glad I’m a Christian,” one victim testified.


Thomas was set to appear in court Sept. 9, but the proceedings were delayed when he decided to hire another lawyer to represent him.


On June 5, Thomas and his former lawyer, Paulette Michel, had a dispute in court when Thomas repeatedly interrupted Nichols and Michel, who were trying to agree on a final pretrial date.


Thomas said then that he wished to find another lawyer.


“Paulette Michel, you’re not the one for me,” Thomas said June 5. “You’re fired. You’re fired. You’re fired.”


The discussion continued, but Nichols silenced Thomas by telling him to take a seat.


Before his hearing July 25, Thomas avoided eye contact with Michel and even covered his face with a paper and plugged his ears when she was near.


Michel declined to comment on Thomas’ behavior, but said she was hopeful that Thomas would plead before Sept. 9 and the case could be resolved.


Thomas and his new lawyer, Jerome Sabbota, appeared in court this week.


At the time of his pretrial March 4, Thomas was facing two counts of attempted murder.


After hearing court testimonies, 46th District Court Judge William Richards issued an opinion March 6 stating that the second attempted murder charge against Thomas would be lowered to a felonious assault charge, and all charges were then bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court.


In March, Nichols ordered Thomas to be evaluated for insanity.


Thomas was evaluated for 90 days at Tuscola Behavioral Health Systems in Caro, Michel said in an earlier report. Whiston said in a previous report that Thomas was asked extensive questions about his mental state, including if he was hearing voices in his head and if he knew right from wrong.


At a hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court June 5, the results of the evaluation showed that Thomas was criminally responsible to stand trial.


Sabbota could not be reached for comment by press time.

Advertisement
Advertisement