Soldier attack suspect to be evaluated

By Ed Brock

The attorney for a homeless man accused of attacking an Army officer and several others on a MARTA train will have a mental evaluation to see if he's competent to stand trial.

Saffo David, 42, a Michigan native who faces several charges of simple battery in connection with the June 10 incident, had been scheduled to be in Clayton County Magistrate Court for a preliminary hearing on Thursday. Instead, his attorney Robert Mack asked that the hearing be waived because in 1995 his client was found mentally incompetent in connection with charges he faced at the time in California.

"We just want to make sure he's competent now," Mack said. "From the information we're getting he's had problems for a long time."

Mack said David has "no beef" with the Army and doesn't know why he attacked the officer on the train bound for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. David also doesn't remember why he was on the train in the first place, Mack said.

A woman came to the unidentified Army officer's aid, and was attacked as well along with a man on another train that David boarded following the first attack, said Gene Wilson, MARTA police chief. Two officers involved in arresting David were also injured, and Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin said David also attacked another inmate while in the intake of Clayton County jail.

Mack said he understood that David had attacked his cellmate as well and was currently being held in isolation in the jail.

David is supposed to be taking medication for his condition but Mack said his client hadn't been taking the medicine for some time. Mack could not say what kind of medication David is supposed to take.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.