Stabbing suspect: ‘I’m here because I attacked a young woman’

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A man accused of stabbing a Warwick Rite Aid worker multiple times over the weekend won’t be undergoing a competency evaluation after all.

Jacob Gallant appeared Wednesday morning in Kent County District Court, where his attorney asked the judge to rescind the order, allowing the case to move forward.

Before doing so, the judge questioned Gallant to see if he understood why he was in court.

“I am here because I attacked a young woman the other day,” Gallant responded.

The judge deemed Gallant competent, and he was subsequently arraigned on a charge of felony assault with intent to murder. The charge carries up to 20 years in prison.

Warwick Police say Gallant stabbed 18-year-old Alyssa Garcia at least eight times in the aisles of Rite Aid in Warwick on Sunday afternoon. In court, Lt. Michael Gilbert said Gallant and his victim did not know each other.

“Officers spoke briefly with {Garcia}…and asked if if she in fact knew the person who hurt her. She stated that she did not, she had no idea who the suspect was or why in fact she was attacked,” Lt. Gilbert said.

Gilbert also said Gallant told police he bought a butcher knife and intended to “stab or try to kill” the first person he saw. “He did in fact try to stab the female victim in the heart,” Gilbert said.

A prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office argued that Gallant’s bail should be set higher than the guideline, which would have been $20,000 with surety, because “we don’t have a real mechanism to be able to ensure that Mr. Gallant would not pose such a danger to the community being unsupervised.”

The judge agreed, also citing a clinician who spoke to Gallant and determined he was both homicidal and suicidal.

Bail was set at $100,000 with surety. Gallant will be released if he posts 10%, or $10,000. In Rhode Island, defendants not charged with murder are entitled to have bail set. Gallant’s attorney said he would be staying with a cousin in Rehoboth.

As conditions of his bail, Gallant was ordered to stay away from the victim and to undergo mental health screening.

Garcia was severely hurt but police said she is recovering at Rhode Island Hospital.

The 18-year-old is a senior at Pilgrim High School, where Principal Gerald Habershaw said students have been working to organize multiple fundraisers for her.

“The Pilgrim High School community is very saddened that one of its students is suffering from the result of an unthinkable act,” Habershaw said in an email to Eyewitness News. “We will continue to help and support Alyssa and her family through this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Garcia family.”

There has been a GoFundMe site set up to help Garcia deal with the aftermath of the attack.

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