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2 experts find Costa Mesa man charged with attempted murder unfit to stand trial, defense attorney says

2 experts find Costa Mesa man charged with attempted murder unfit to stand trial, defense attorney says
Gavin Delgardo Jr. is accused of attempted murder in an Aug. 16 stabbing in Costa Mesa. (File Photo)

In the latest development in an attempted-murder case against a 19-year-old Costa Mesa man, a second expert has concluded that the defendant, Gavin Delgardo Jr., is mentally incompetent to stand trial, Delgardo’s lawyer said Thursday.

After two earlier evaluations by a psychologist and a psychiatrist were divided on Delgardo’s competency, an Orange County Superior Court judge in November ordered that a third evaluation be done. The third court-appointed expert determined that Delgardo was not competent, according to defense attorney Adrian Woodward.

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“He doesn’t have the mental prerequisite to do the harm that he inflicted,” said Woodward, who says his client believed he was being chased at the time of last summer’s stabbing in which he is charged.

To settle the issue, parties to the case may agree that Delgardo is incompetent to stand trial or request an additional court hearing for the judge to determine his competency, Woodward said.

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A scheduled hearing Thursday was continued to Feb. 13. Delgardo is being held at Orange County Jail with bail set at $500,000.

Prosecutors from the Orange County district attorney’s office were unavailable to comment Thursday. Other DA’s office representatives declined to comment.

Delgardo pleaded not guilty Aug. 21 to one count of attempted murder with enhancement allegations of inflicting great bodily injury and personally using a deadly weapon.

Authorities allege Delgardo stabbed a 41-year-old Costa Mesa resident who was out for a walk Aug. 16 near the Goat Hill Junction railroad on the east side of Fairview Park.

Shortly before 9 p.m., police responded to Placentia Avenue near the main entrance to the park after a motorist reported a man lying on the road, authorities said.

The victim was found bleeding heavily from slash and stab wounds to his torso, authorities said.

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