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Phil Matier: Fisherman’s Wharf Murder Suspect Hunger Strike Sparks Debate

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(AP)

(AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A man accused of a double killing near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf has staged a hunger strike for the last month, and it’s sparked a battle of ethics in the city.

Hong Ri Wu, who sold clothing and accessories at a store in an alley off Jefferson Street, is accused of gunning down the operators of a competing store in late January. Over the summer a court appointed psychiatrist said Wu was mentally incapable of standing trial.

Wu began refusing food at the county jail in early September. Two weeks ago his condition was deemed acute and he was admitted to San Francisco General Hospital.

KCBS & Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

Sheriff’s officials told KCBS political insider Phil Matier that doctors there are refusing to intervene because medical officials say Wu is of sound mind and can make his own decisions. The City Attorney’s office is investigating.

”There seems to be a question of medical ethics here,” said Matier. “At least according to Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who called me with this tip yesterday. So we’ve got one psychiatrist saying he’s mentally incompetent to stand trial, but we’ve got the doctors at SF General saying that he’s mentally competent enough to decide whether or not he can take his own life, or not eat. So which one do you believe?”

Hospital officials and the public defender’s office, which is representing Wu, are not commenting.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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