Man found insane in 2016 hatchet attack on Chinese student

August 17, 2017

A judge has found a man not guilty by reason of insanity in a hatchet attack against a high school exchange student from China.

Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart delivered the verdict Wednesday following the two-day bench trial of 61-year-old Dana Ericson. He will be committed to a state mental institution until he is determined to be sane.

Two psychiatrists testified Ericson was psychotic when 18-year-old Yue Zhang was struck with a hatchet in her back in downtown Nashville in February 2016 while she took photos for a class project at Brown County High School. Ericson told police he was committing "ethnic cleansing."

Stewart said Ericson has a 30-year history of serious mental illness and evidence showed he wasn't responsible and could not be held criminally accountable for the attack.


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