Billie Davis, 56, has been indicted on a federal hate crime count in an attack on an Indiana University student, according to federal prosecutors.
CNN  — 

An Indiana woman has been indicted on a federal hate crime count in a racially motivated attack on an Indiana University student of Chinese descent, the US Justice Department said Thursday.

Federal prosecutors said the indictment from the federal grand jury in Evansville, Indiana, alleges Billie Davis, 56, attacked the victim on January 11 with a knife due to her race and national origin.

Davis already faces state charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and battery by means of a deadly weapon, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

In a statement Friday to CNN, Davis’ defense attorney Kyle Dugger said she “has a long, documented history of severe mental illness.”

“People close to Ms. Davis — neighbors, family, friends — do not describe her having any known racist attitudes or history,” Dugger said. “They don’t recall her expressing racist ideas or engaging in hate speech.”

Davis and the victim had been riding separately on the bus, and when the victim tried to exit, Davis got up from her nearby seat and stabbed the victim in the head with a folding knife, leaving puncture wounds, a probable cause affidavit on the state charges says.

The Justice Department said the case was investigated by the FBI Indianapolis Field Office and Bloomington Resident Agency, with assistance from the Bloomington Police Department.

CNN’s Nicki Brown contributed to this report.