The man accused of hitting a teen girl in the back with a hatchet in downtown Nashville last week has been charged with attempted murder.

Dana Ericson, 59, appeared in Brown Circuit Court by video conference from the jail Feb. 22.

In addition to attempted murder, his charges include aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; and battery causing serious injury, a Level 5 felony.

A Level 1 felony carries a sentence range of 20 to 40 years.

When asked if he understood the charges, Ericson responded, “I understand this nonsense.”

He laughed off and on while Judge Judith A. Stewart read him his rights, only pausing to hold his head in his palm or look at his fingers.

His bail at was set at $500,000. Stewart approved a protective order for the victim and her exchange family.

The judge has asked for Ericson be evaluated to determine his competency to stand trial. At his Feb. 19 hearing, he denied his right to an attorney, but Stewart appointed public defender Jacob Moore in case he changed his mind.

Ericson has a history of violent crime and of time spent in psychiatric hospitals, according to online court records.

Police said he admitted to attacking 18-year-old Brown County High School student Zhang Yue on Feb. 18 because she is Asian.

He said he was attempting “ethnic cleansing” and called himself a white supremacist.

Yue, of China, was taking pictures for a high school photography class on the corner of Van Buren and Gould streets when the attack occurred.

She was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for a wound which hit close to her spinal column, Brown County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Moore’s report said. He said the heavy coat she was wearing likely weakened the blow.

She was released Thursday night and was well enough to attend Saturday night’s basketball game at Brown County High School.

Brown County local music teacher Kara Barnard and musician Picker Dan organized an event, “Sending love to Z,” with music and meditation on the courthouse lawn Saturday.

Brown Countians met on the county courthouse lawn, Feb. 20, to show their support for a Chinese exchange student nicknamed "Z." Z was attacked with a hatchett about a block from the courthouse lawn.
Brown Countians met on the county courthouse lawn, Feb. 20, to show their support for a Chinese exchange student nicknamed “Z.” Z was attacked with a hatchett about a block from the courthouse lawn.

A circle of musicians sang about a block from where Z was attacked. Locals and visitors gathered around.

Timothy Barr was one of them, holding a handmade sign. “I heard about this young woman and her misfortune, and I wanted to come here to show support and love for her,” he said.

Watch a video from the event here: http://www.bcdemocrat.com/2016/02/21/brown-countians-show-support-for-z/

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.