An Indiana woman accused of stabbing a college student of Chinese descent in January has been indicted on a federal hate crime count, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Billie Davis, 56, has already been charged on state counts in the attack on a bus Jan. 11 that injured the 18-year-old Indiana University student in Bloomington.
A federal grand jury indicted Davis on one hate crime count Thursday, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Davis is alleged to have told Bloomington police that she stabbed the student in the head with a folding knife for “being Chinese” and that “it would be one less person to blow up our country,” according to court documents in the state case.
The victim survived. She was stabbed about seven times, Bloomington police have said.
Davis’ public defender in the state case, Kyle Dugger, said Davis has a long and documented history of severe mental illness, and that people close to her don’t recall her expressing any racist ideas in the past. She was hallucinating in jail after her arrest, he said.
“I would caution the public not to jump to conclusions about a person’s thoughts or beliefs based on police claims from a single interview, and advise even more caution when the interview was taken from a person in custody experiencing psychosis,” Dugger said.
There was no interaction between Davis and the student before the attack, police said at the time. The victim said she was on the bus waiting for the doors to open when she was stabbed, according to police.
Federal court records did not list an attorney for Davis on Thursday night.
Dugger said it's possible the state case could be dropped now that Davis has been charged federally. A federal public defender will likely be assigned to represent her in that case, he said.