Hate-crime suspect, alleged victim meet

A Belmont woman charged with a hate crime faced her accuser in court Thursday as the victim described the terror of being run down in his carport.

Janice Lutz, 49, was visibly agitated throughout the preliminary hearing and during the testimony of Noel Thomas, who was Lutz’s neighbor in an apartment complex for three years before the alleged attack.

Lutz exhaled loudly, shook her head and muttered to herself as Thomas describedhow she confronted him as he was assembling cabinets in his carport.

Thomas, who is Jamaican, said Lutz, who is white, began yelling racial epithets at him without provocation. He said he ignored his neighbor during the April 29 incident.

Lutz then got into her car, carefully lined up the bumper with Thomas’ carport, and hit the gas, he said.

Thomas said he was thrown backward as Lutz’s car struck the cabinets.

He momentarily blacked out and woke up on the ground with the cabinets pinned on top of him, he said.

It was at that point, he told San Mateo Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall, that he believed Lutz would finish him off.

“I thought she was actually going to pull the trigger on me at that moment,” he said.

Thomas, a general contractor, said he missed several days of work due to a sprained shoulder.

He said Lutz had once before used racial slurs against him when he asked her to move her garbage can.

Belmont Police Officer Charles Bradshaw also took the stand Thursday, telling the judge that an interview with another neighbor revealed Lutz often used abusive epithets against Hispanic tenants.

After hearing Thomas’ and Bradshaw’s testimony, Hall held Lutz to answer on the two felony hate crime charges, but dropped the felony hit-and-run charge she faced due to lack of evidence.

Outside court, Lutz’ attorney, public defender Tom Kelley, said his client isn’t a racist, but has a hard time controlling herself.

“This woman has a black boyfriend,” he said. “She says inappropriate things sometimes because she can’t control what she says.”

Two doctors have concluded that Lutz, who is free on her own recognizance, is competent to stand trial.

tbarak@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read