Local News in Brief : Nephew of Liberace Sent to State Hospital
The nephew of the late entertainer Liberace was sentenced Wednesday to a maximum of seven years in a state psychiatric hospital for assaulting his sister.
However, Lester Lee Liberace, 33, could be released earlier if he convinces a court that he is sane and no longer poses a threat to himself or to society, Deputy Dist. Atty. Phillip H. Rabichow said.
Liberace had been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 6 attack and could have faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, authorities said.
In February, Liberace pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the assault charge. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge of attempted murder and to recommend a lighter sentence of seven years.
Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz accepted that recommendation Wednesday and sentenced Liberace to up to seven years at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino.
The charges stem from a disagreement that Liberace had with his sister, Ina Liberace, 28, after he left the Chatsworth Health and Rehabilitation Center, a private mental health facility, on Nov. 5.
Liberace went to his family’s Van Nuys home Nov. 6, then asked to be returned to the Chatsworth center, prosecutors said. His sister agreed to drive him, but prosecutors said Liberace grew impatient with a brief delay. They said he went to the kitchen, returned with an 8-inch knife and stabbed his sister in the stomach.