Another competency exam requested for suspect in hatchet attack case

The mental competency of a Nashville man accused of attacking a foreign exchange student with a hatchet has been called into question again.

On Oct. 11, public defender Jacob Moore filed a notice of defense of mental disease or defect, and asked for a psychiatric examination for Dana Ericson, 60, to determine his competency to stand trial.

In August, Ericson had been found competent to stand trial after receiving months of treatment at the Logansport State Hospital. He was moved back to the Brown County jail.

In letters the court received in September and October, Ericson claims he is being over-medicated and is in need of therapy. He expressed dissatisfaction with his treatment at the Brown County jail and with his public defender.

In a letter Oct. 4, Ericson “fired” Moore and requested another public defender. He said he would temporarily represent himself in the meantime.

In another letter, also written Oct. 4, Ericson claims there is a “conspiracy” against him that caused him to attack 18-year-old Brown County High School student Yue “Z” Zhang with a hatchet in February. She was taking pictures for a photography class in downtown Nashville.

“This conspiracy is responsible for my thoroughly insane behavior in the greatest tragedy of my life involving that wonderful Chinese national woman Ms. Zhang,” Ericson wrote.

“Twas the furthest thing from my intention to harm Ms. Zhang and I was later surprised to find that she had sustained any injury whatsoever. I am a most gentle and peaceful man and the tragedy has caused me enormous suffering.”

Zhang is from China, and Ericson told police at the time of the attack that he struck her because she is Asian. He said he was attempting “ethnic cleansing” and called himself a white supremacist.

Zhang was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for a wound that hit close to her spinal column. She was released that evening to her host family and returned to school days later.

She is now attending college in New York, Prosecutor Ted Adams said.