Van Alstine, charged for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery, was accused of cutting his high school sweetheart’s neck with a serrated knife in their mobile home on Dec. 2, 2010. He missed his court date six times since then because he was not medically well enough to show up, according District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Van Alstine had originally been scheduled for a jury trial in county court in January 2012. His case was delayed yet again as the court was yet to receive the doctors' reports about his mental competency.
It wasn't until April 2013 that a San Mateo County Court judge found him competent to stand trial based upon doctors’ reports, however, two witnesses were unavailable that date, so the case was continued Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013.
Prosecutors say Van Alstine's motive for the gruesome attack may have been connected to a DUI criminal case that was resolved on Nov. 29, 2010. His 55-year-old girlfriend called cops reporting that he had been driving while intoxicated, Wagstaffe said.
The couple had dated in high school, but later reconnected and had been sharing a home in Pillar Ridge mobile home park for the last three years. When the girlfriend came home from work one night, Vanalstine “came from his room, pulled out a knife, held her down on the couch by her hair and began sawing at her neck with the serrated knife,” Wagstaffe said, leaving a 10 cm laceration to her neck from her left carotid to her ear.
Van Alstine allegedly stopped attacking his girlfriend when the victim’s friend arrived, Wagstaffe said. The girlfriend, who was losing a ton of blood, then grabbed the phone, ran outside and called 911, he said. She was transported to Stanford Hospital, where she underwent surgery, and after receiving treatment, she made a full recovery.
Van Alstine was taken into custody at the scene, but then rushed to the hospital with medical problems unrelated to the alleged attack.
By taking the plea deal on Tuesday, Van Alstine admitted to his crimes. If his case went to a full trial, prosecutors would have sought a charge of premeditated murder against him, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti.
He will return to court next month for a restitution hearing.