Random and Unprovoked Stabbings on Alaska Cruise Ship Lead to Federal Charges for Suspect; Federal Judge to Preside

Random and Unprovoked Stabbings on Alaska Cruise Ship Lead to Federal Charges for Suspect; Federal Judge to Preside

Anchorage, AL: Prosecutors say a South African man stabbed several people on a cruise ship going to Juneau early Monday morning. The man’s public lawyer said he planned to file a written motion about his client’s mental health at a hearing in Anchorage federal court on Thursday.

Federal Public Defender Ben Muse talked on the phone with Ntando Sogoni, the suspect, who is 35 years old. Muse said that Sogoni is from South Africa and has no ties to Alaska or the United States. The charging papers say that Sogoni was working on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Encore when the stabbing happened, which happened about 16.5 miles from Vancouver Island, which is in the southwest of Canada.

Judge Matthew Scoble, a federal magistrate, said there was strong proof against Sogoni. He said the violent attacks seemed to have been random and that he was worried about Sogoni’s mental health and the safety of the community.

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That’s when Federal Prosecutor Jack Schmidt told the court that Sogoni attacked a security guard and a male nurse while being taken to the ship’s medical centre to be checked out. He then used medical scissors to stab a 75-year-old woman who was also being checked out and two security guards.

Schmidt said that none of the three people who were stabbed were in danger of dying, even though the woman was being stabbed over and over and could have died if the security guards hadn’t stopped and arrested Sogoni.

Scoble also said it would be hard to figure out how to stop Sogoni from attacking other people.

Muse waived Sogoni’s right to a preliminary hearing during the hearing, which meant that Sogoni could not ask the state to show proof of guilt.

Schmidt says that Sogoni doesn’t seem to have a crime record before the attack. For felony assault with a dangerous weapon within maritime and territorial jurisdiction, he faces at least 10 years in jail followed by three years of monitored release if found guilty.

The Thursday hearing didn’t talk about the chance of extraditing Sogoni, but his public defender did say that he had talked to lawyers in South Africa.

Sogoni’s next court date is May 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the federal building in Anchorage.

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