updated 5/20/2006 7:29:17 PM ET 2006-05-20T23:29:17

The man charged with fatally stabbing an 18-year-old in a school parking lot has a history of mental illness, his attorney said.

Edwin L. Cornelius, 24, of Aynor, has been charged with murder in the death of Natalia Holmes, who witnesses have said was stabbed while students were arriving for class Thursday at a school near Myrtle Beach.

Cornelius’ family said the two had been dating.

Horry County public defender Orrie West said Cornelius’ schizophrenia started when he was about 18. She did not know if he was taking medications or had recently seen any counselors.

A judge has ordered Cornelius be evaluated to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

West said Cornelius was sent to a state mental facility in 2000 after he pulled a knife on his grandmother. Charges were dropped at the grandmother’s request, West said.

Cornelius was charged with voluntary manslaughter in 2003 in the death of a man who was attacking his mother, but prosecutors dropped the charge after deciding it was in self-defense.

He was convicted of criminal domestic violence in October, but the incident did not involve Holmes, authorities said.

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