Man charged in Salt Lake City grocery store stabbing appears in court
Crime • Police say man had just purchased knife.
Published: May 3, 2012 02:47PM
Updated: May 5, 2012 11:15PM
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Kiet Thanh Ly, Smith's stabbing suspect enters the courtroom to appear before Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman Thursday, May 3, 2012 in his initial appearance in court at the Scott M Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

A man who allegedly stabbed two people and tried to attack others outside a Salt Lake City grocery store last week made his first court appearance Thursday.

Kiet Thanh Ly said nothing other than, “Yes, Ma’am,” to 3rd District Judge Katherine Bernards-Goodman’s questions during the brief hearing.

The 34-year-old Ly has told police he was acting on the direction of voices in his head when he stabbed two people at random. “Why did you kill my people?” Ly shouted as he attacked the two men with a knife he had just purchased, according to court documents.

Ly stabbed a 30-year-old man multiple times in the abdomen and then stabbed a 45-year-old man in the head, penetrating his skull and causing his brain to swell, police said. Both stabbing victims were expected to survive.

An officer said Ly yelled, “You racist [expletive] ... you killed my people ... you should all die,” according to charging documents.

Ly allegedly threatened four others outside the Smith’s Marketplace at 455 S. 500 East before a customer who was exiting the store pulled out a gun and held Ly on the ground until police arrived.

Ly faces two counts of first-degree felony attempted murder and four counts of third-degree felony aggravated assault. His next court appearance in the case was scheduled for May 24.

Court records show Ly has a lengthy criminal history, including pending cases involving sexual battery and Lewdness.

Ly had been in jail until he pleaded guilty April 23 to misdemeanor counts of joy riding and possessing someone else’s identifying documents, a court docket shows. He was released pending a June 18 sentencing.

afalk@sltrib.com