Jury convicts Boise man who repeatedly stabbed a 74-year-old stranger in 2018

The perpetrator of a stabbing attack in Southeast Boise in November 2018 was convicted Friday by a jury after a five-day trial.

Ruben Diaz, 40, was found guilty of felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon enhancement, of being a persistent violator and of resisting or obstructing police. It was nearly five years ago when he approached then-74-year-old Gary Vinsonhaler, a stranger, as Vinsonhaler was raking leaves in his yard and stabbed him repeatedly.

Vinsonhaler suffered severe injuries to his face, facial nerves and hands as he tried to fight off the attack, resulting in permanent mobility damage, according to previous reporting by the Idaho Statesman.

The Boise Police Department’s investigation revealed that the two men did not know each other and that Diaz was a resident of a nearby assisted-living home.

Diaz was deemed mentally unfit for trial but had his competency restored in 2019, according to court records. He has a lengthy history of mental illness, according to a prior Statesman investigation, and a history of acting violently when not properly medicated.

He pleaded not guilty to the crimes. The jury delivered the guilty verdict Friday after three and a half hours of deliberation.

“Thank you to the jurors for their time and attention during this trial,” Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts said in a news release.

Diaz’s sentencing is set for Nov. 7 before 4th District Judge Jonathan Medema. The maximum penalty for the crimes he was found guilty of is life in prison.

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