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Homeless man ruled mentally unfit to stand trial in Costa Mesa killing

Christopher Leovy
(File Photo)

A homeless man accused of bludgeoning to death a Costa Mesa handyman in 2013 is not mentally competent to stand trial, an Orange County Superior Court commissioner ruled Friday.

Christopher Leovy, 36, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is unable to understand the legal proceedings going on around him, according to his lawyer, Joel Tamraz.

“He doesn’t even know what the charges are against him,” Tamraz said. “It’s a sad situation.”

After reviewing reports from three court-appointed psychologists, Commissioner Edward Hall agreed Friday that Leovy is too impaired to face charges of murder and assaulting a police officer.


The decision means Leovy will be held at a state mental facility until he’s well enough to stand trial.

“Nobody knows how long this is going to take,” Tamraz said. “They may never have him back in a situation where he could go to trial.”

The Orange County Health Care Agency will assess Leovy to determine what facility is best for him, but he’ll likely end up at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, according to Tamraz and prosecutor Matt Murphy.

“It’s where he belongs,” Tamraz said.


Prosecutors allege Leovy is responsible for killing John Kubat, 54.

Leovy is from Los Angeles but came to Costa Mesa for drug treatment before becoming homeless, according to police. He was staying as a squatter at a vacant home on Hamilton Street where Kubat was doing remodeling work, police said.

Prosecutors allege that on the morning of Sept. 9, 2013, the two got in an argument and Leovy attacked Kubat with a heavy blunt object.

Leovy was arrested two days later in a Costa Mesa park, where, according to police, he ran from them and struggled with officers trying to take him into custody.

It took years for Leovy to be deemed mentally incompetent, partly because he repeatedly declined to meet with the three court-appointed psychologists.

In the end, two were able to speak with him, and both found him incapable of standing trial.

Kubat’s brother, James, said Friday that he was frustrated that something wasn’t done about Leovy sooner.

Leovy had been in and out of police custody twice in the months leading to John Kubat’s death.


In January 2013, he was cited for being present in a park after dark, and in February, he was charged with a misdemeanor of falsely representing himself to a police officer, according to court records.

While facing the misdemeanor charge, he was taken into custody in August for failure to appear in court, records show. He spent two weeks in jail, but the charge was dropped and he was released less than a week before John Kubat’s death.

James Kubat questioned why someone with obvious mental health issues was allowed to go free without treatment.

“I’m upset at the system, not so much him,” he said.

A man who identified himself as Leovy’s uncle attended Friday’s hearing but declined to talk on the record.