Jett McBride, who was legally insane last year when he plowed his car into a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crew working alongside a Fresno street, will undergo an evaluation to determine whether he should be sent to a state hospital or receive outpatient treatment, a judge ruled Wednesday.
A jury convicted McBride of assault with a deadly weapon, but ruled last week in Fresno County Superior Court that he was legally insane when he committed his crime.
Because of the jury's verdict, McBride, 55, will not go to prison.
Instead, Judge Arlan Harrell must determine whether McBride's mental illness still poses a threat to the public. If it does, McBride will likely go to a state hospital.
In the trial, McBride testified that he thought he was Jesus Christ when he plowed into the utility crew, pinning PG&E employee Rayshawn Neely under a truck.
Neely's co-workers and bystanders fought with McBride, who stripped naked because he believed he was headed to heaven, defense attorney Scott Baly said.
Baly contended McBride suffers from a bipolar/manic disorder and never intended to hurt anyone. Three doctors testified that McBride has a marijuana problem, believed that he influenced the resignation of Hillary Clinton and Pope Benedict XVI and is spooked by such things as "white crosses" and "Russians." He also believed he was being tracked by the government and others.
Prosecutor Becky Gong argued that McBride intentionally drove his car into the utility crew.
Gong was without her star witness -- Kai the hitchhiker, who told police that he stopped the Feb. 1 attack by hitting McBride in the head with his hatchet three times.
Kai, whose real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, never made it to court to testify. He is in jail after being accused of killing a 73-year-old man in New Jersey.
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