Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. refused to grant a bond for Ronald Jin Pak, 48. Blanchard said he believes Pak, who has a history of mental illness, to be a threat to society.
“There’s no indication what his behavior will be with or without medication,” Blanchard said.
Pak was arrested June 3 as he was leaving the Wells Fargo Bank at 489 Furys Ferry Road in Martinez.
Pak entered the bank and stood at a table, but rejected assistance from tellers before leaving, District Attorney Ashley Wright said at Thursday’s hearing. He returned and told a teller twice that he had a gun and told her to put money into a bag. Because the teller didn’t have a bag, Pak asked her what to use. He didn’t show a weapon, left without receiving any money, and was caught while driving away from the bank parking lot.
“He turned himself in and said he wanted to explain what happened,” Wright said.
Pak’s attorney, Paul Balducci, said the immigration lawyer has a long history of bipolar and manic depressive disorders. He is in the process of surrendering his license to practice law.
Wright said that she knows Pak and that when he’s medicated, he appears calm and appropriate. She is worried about dangerous and physically threatening behavior when Pak isn’t on medication or on proper medication, she said.
Pak has had several run-ins with the law, including a 1996 arrest in suburban Atlanta’s DeKalb County for terroristic threats, which was reduced to a misdemeanor. He was indicted on three counts of aggravated assault against deputies trying to take him into custody on a commitment order in 1998. Those charges were dismissed after he received treatment and was stable.
He was arrested for criminal damage to property after an incident at his mother’s house in 2002.
Elizabeth Ball, a psychiatric nurse who treats Pak at the Columbia County Detention Center, said Pak was severely depressed and would barely speak when he was arrested. He is significantly better and cooperative, she said.
“He’s been doing just fine,” Ball said.