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Trial For Man Involved In Racial Hatchet Attack Begins Today
Updated August 16, 2017 3:53 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(NASHVILLE) - A Brown County judge began hearing testimony this morning in the trial of a man charged with attacking a foreign exchange student in Nashville last February.

Dana Ericson is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and battery causing serious injury after he attacked 18-year-old Yue Zhang of China twice in the back with a hatchet on February 18, 2016.

Ericson has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

According to court documents, Ericson's court-appointed public defender Jacob Moore intends to use a defense of mental disease or defect. Since his arrest, 60-year-old Ericson has served time alternatively at a state hospital under psychiatric care and at the Brown County Jail.

Brown County Prosecutors plan to use photos and audio from the scene of the crime as evidence. Zhang is listed as a potential witness for the prosecution.

If Ericson is convicted of attempted murder, the maximum sentence is 40 years.

The trial is expected to last two days.

Ericson told police he was trying to bring about an "ethnic cleansing" and stated that he hated Asians and intended to kill the teen.

Zhang, who was attending Brown County High School as an exchange student, was struck while taking photos for a high school class near Trolly's BBQ in downtown Nashville. Police say Ericson ran across Van Buren Street near the courthouse and hit her in the back two times with a hatchet. Zhang's thick coat prevented her injury from being fatal.

She was treated at a Columbus hospital for a deep, 2-inch laceration that measured about an inch wide near her spine and was released.

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