Lithia Ford stabbing suspect in court, documents show schizophrenia diagnosis in 2021

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022
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The man accused of stabbing an employee at Lithia Ford in northeast Fresno last week made his first court appearance Monday.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of stabbing an employee at Lithia Ford in Northeast Fresno last week made his first court appearance Monday.

Now, court documents are revealing new details about a mental health diagnosis he received after serving in Iraq.

Manuel Bracker stood in front of a judge Monday for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges.

The 36-year-old is accused of stabbing and critically injuring an employee at Lithia Ford in Northeast Fresno last week.

He did not enter a plea and is now being held on one million dollars bail.

Fresno Police says Bracker is experiencing homelessness.

Investigators have not found a previous relationship between him and the 56-year-old victim, but Bracker does have a previous criminal history.

He went to prison after he stabbed a woman in the neck inside Grocery Outlet in northwest Fresno in March of 2019.

Criminal Defense Attorney Mark A. Broughton is not connected to Bracker's case, but says previous convictions could play a role.

"If there is a pattern, if there's a similarity between a prior offense and the current offense, they might be able to bring that in as a "prior bad act" we would call that as attorneys."

RELATED: Suspect identified in Fresno Lithia Ford dealership stabbing

Newly obtained court documents show Bracker was arrested and charged in November of last year for pulling a knife on a front desk staff member at the Clarion Pointe Hotel near Ashlan and Blackstone.

One month later, Bracker was charged with breaking into the Noble Credit Union near Tulare and O Streets.

A motion filed to get Bracker into the Mental Health Diversion Program for both cases shows he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in November of 2021.

It also claims Brackcer's criminal history all started after his deployment to Iraq as a member of the armed forces.

Broughton calls Bracker's mental health status a glaring issue that will need to be addressed before moving forward.

"If the court or the attorneys believe that he may not be competent, then they would suspend from proceedings and they would have him seen by a doctor, actually two, and make sure he's competent before they go any farther," Broughton said.

Since Bracker was convicted of stabbing a woman in 2019, he does have a strike on his record.

That means, if he's convicted in this case, there will be harsher penalties and he would receive a second strike.

Bracker is expected to be back in court next Monday.

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