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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Student Arraigned in Stabbing of Teacher

November 09, 2000

POMONA — A Pomona College senior accused of stabbing his philosophy professor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of attempted murder. Prosecutors say Jared Essig, 22, stabbed Frederick Sontag on Oct. 30 while the two were in Sontag's car. Essig is also charged with burglary and theft.

Essig's lawyer, Stuart Holmes of Claremont, waived the formal reading of charges and entered the defendant's plea of not guilty to all three counts during an arraignment in Pomona Superior Court. He then asked that criminal proceedings be suspended pending the outcome of a competency hearing Dec. 18.

Commissioner Wade D. Olson granted the request and approved the appointment of a doctor to evaluate whether Essig is mentally competent to stand trial. Essig is being held at Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles. Holmes had no comment on the case.

Sontag, 76, has taught philosophy at the college since 1952. He offered Essig a place to stay Oct. 30 after the student, who had been jailed on previous charges, was released to him and Ann Quinley, dean of students at the college.

Sontag said that when he parked his car in the lot of Essig's residence hall, Essig became violent and pulled out a small knife. When Sontag reached for the 2-inch blade, Essig stabbed him twice, then ran. He was later arrested on campus.

Sontag was hospitalized briefly, but said he bore Essig no malice and even recommended to Essig's parents that they hire Holmes for the case.

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