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Attorney: Accused killer refuses to cooperate with psychologist

January 30, 2014|By Jeremiah Dobruck
  • Christopher Leovy
Christopher Leovy (Costa Mesa Police…)

The homeless man accused of killing a handyman in a Costa Mesa driveway has refused to cooperate with a court-appointed psychologist trying to determine whether he's mentally fit to stand trial.

Christopher Leovy would not speak to the psychologist who contacted him in jail, his attorney, Joel Tamraz, said during a hearing in an Orange County Superior Court on Thursday.

"He didn't trust the psychologist," Tamraz said.

Police allege that Leovy, 34, bludgeoned John Kubat, 54, to death on Sept. 9. The two allegedly had a disagreement in the driveway of a home Kubat was remodeling before Leovy attacked.

Leovy's trial is on hold while the court determines whether he's able to help in his own defense.

Tamraz requested the evaluation in November after Leovy complained of hallucinations and a private doctor suggested Leovy was paranoid and schizophrenic, according to the lawyer.

If the court decides Leovy is mentally fit, the trial would continue. If not, Leovy could be held at a mental treatment facility until he's deemed competent.

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In December, an Orange County Superior Court commissioner appointed two psychologists to evaluate Leovy.

Tamraz said he'd previously told his client not to speak to anyone else, which could have made Leovy distrustful of the psychologist who contacted him. Tamraz said he was unaware of the other psychologist even trying to contact Leovy.

On Thursday, Commissioner Christopher J. Evans reappointed the psychologists and set a March court date for them to return with their findings.

"We'll give it one more try," he said.

Leovy, a Los Angeles resident, has been behind bars since Sept. 11, when police arrested him in a Costa Mesa park.

In addition to a murder charge, Leovy is also facing a felony charge of battery on a police officer stemming from his arrest. He pleaded not guilty Sept. 18.

Police have said they believe Leovy was staying at a sober-living home in the city before he became homeless.

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