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UCLA student charged with premeditated attempted murder in stabbing, slashing attack [Updated]

October 13, 2009 | 11:22 am

A UCLA student allegedly stabbed a classmate five times and slashed her throat in a crime prosecutors said today was premeditated.

Damon Thompson was charged this morning with one count of premeditated attempted murder in the attack last week in a chemistry lab.

Thompson, 20, from Belize, is being held on $1 million bail on suspicion of attempted murder and will be arraigned later today at the Airport Courthouse.

Despite initial reports that there was an argument between the students, prosecutors said today that Thursday's attack was unprovoked and that Thompson pulled out a knife and began stabbing the student for no apparent reason.

[Updated at 12:15 p.m.: The female victim, whose identity has not been released by officials, was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in critical condition but has been steadily improving, doctors said.

“Our patient is now out of the intensive care unit and out of danger -- and she is in good condition,” Dr. Henry Gill Cryer, professor and chief of trauma surgery at the hospital, said today.]

UCLA professor Stephen Frank, who taught Thompson in his Western Civilization class, said Saturday he told a university administrator 10 months ago that he was concerned about Thompson's mental health after receiving e-mails from the student.

In the e-mails, Thompson complained to Frank that classmates sitting around him had been disruptive and made offensive comments to him while he was taking a written exam, Frank said. In one of the e-mails, Thompson also accused Frank of taunting him.

"I believe I heard you, Professor Frank, say that I was 'troubled' and 'crazy' among other things," Thompson wrote in the e-mail. "My outrage at this situation coupled with the pressure of the very weighted examination dulled my concentration and detracted from my performance."

Frank denied Thompson's claims and told administrators the e-mails indicated Thompson was in need of help, urging university officials to take action. Frank said he was told other professors had reported similar exchanges with Thompson, who complained he was constantly taunted by students across campus -- in dorms, dining areas and the library.

Strict federal privacy laws prevent UCLA officials from disclosing how they handled the issue.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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