Yakima County Courthouse

FILE — The Yakima County Courthouse.

A Yakima County Superior Court judge Monday ordered the suspect in a knife attack on a shopper at a Yakima grocery store held on $500,000 bail to answer charges of assault, theft and violation of a no-contact order.

The attack happened Saturday afternoon at Fred Meyer, 1206 N. 40th Ave. The shopper, a 66-year-old woman, was in the produce section when the man, 28, walked up behind her, pulled her head back and slit her throat with a knife, according to an affidavit filed by Yakima police.

Police said the woman did not know the attacker.

After the attack, surveillance video showed the man calmly walking out of the store and to his car.

The victim’s injuries were not life threatening; she was treated at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital and released.

In the affidavit, police said the suspect stole the knife from the store shortly before the attack. They said surveillance video showed that moments before the attack the man had walked up behind a different woman, but veered off after that woman turned and looked at him.

Investigators were tracing the suspect’s vehicle when one of the officers recognized the man from the store’s surveillance video, according to the affidavit. He was found and arrested in a West Valley neighborhood Saturday evening, said Yakima Police Department Capt. Jay Seely.

During Monday’s hearing before Judge Richard Bartheld, defense attorney Charles Dold noted that the defendant had been released from jail to the supervision of Yakima County’s Mental Health Court less than a week before Saturday’s attack.

As a matter of policy, the Yakima Herald-Republic does not identify criminal suspects until they’ve been formally charged.

The suspect has been the subject of multiple no-contact orders starting in 2014 involving his brother and father. He has six convictions for violations of those no-contact orders, three of which were felonies. He’s been sentenced to prison twice for those violations.

Police requested another felony charge for violating the orders because of statements police said his family made to officers during the investigation about a visit to the family’s home in Yakima the day before the incident at Fred Meyer.

In June 2018, the man was arrested for swinging a samurai sword at two women outside the Borton Fruit warehouse on Chestnut Avenue in Yakima. That case was resolved with a guilty plea to third-degree assault, but only after mental competency evaluations and a judicial order requiring him to take medication.

On July 4, 2019, he was accused of stabbing his brother twice during a fight at the family home. He entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity before pleading guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in that case.

In April of this year he was charged with another violation of a no-contact order along with felony eluding and driving with a suspended license. That case resulted in a referral to Yakima County’s Mental Health Court and an order to release him from jail on July 14.