A municipal judge temporarily suspended murder charges Tuesday against fired postal worker Mark Hilbun and ordered a hearing to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial.
Hilbun, 39, has been charged with killing his mother and a Dana Point post office worker during a two-day rampage in May. He also has been charged with five attempted murders.
Hilbun had worked at the post office for nearly four years before he was fired in December, 1992, in part for stalking a female employee. Police said Hilbun went to the post office on the day of the shooting to kidnap her. She was not hurt in the incident.
Municipal Judge Pamela L. Iles scheduled the competency hearing next Tuesday in Superior Court. At least two experts will testify to Hilbun's inability to stand trial, Deputy Public Defender David Biggs said.
Appearing in court briefly Tuesday, Hilbun looked haggard and disoriented as he walked with apparent discomfort around a wire jail cell.
In an interview, Biggs said Hilbun is mentally unstable as indicated by an intentional fall from a second-story walkway in Orange County Jail last month.
Hilbun broke a vertebra and suffered a concussion in the June 21 incident, which occurred while he was out of his cell for a daily recreational break. After a two-week stay at a hospital, he returned to the jail Friday and is being monitored daily by the medical staff.
"Someone leaping from a second floor . . . (who) didn't break the fall with his hands but instead landed on his head . . . indicates to me that that individual is not mentally competent," Biggs said. "He didn't slip; he did that intentionally."
Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard King's only comment on Hilbun's mental condition was: "Under the law, he is presumed competent."
If a judge concludes that Hilbun is mentally incompetent, he would probably be sent to a state facility pending the results of competency hearings. If Hilbun is determined to be mentally competent to stand trial, he will return to court for a preliminary hearing.
Police believe that Hilbun stabbed his mother to death in her Corona del Mar home May 6, then drove to a Dana Point post office and shot a fellow postal carrier to death and wounded another.
Police say Hilbun also shot and wounded at least four more people in three attacks over two days in Dana Point, Newport Beach and Fountain Valley.