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Accused killer charged with attacking guards

 | Published on 10/14/2010


The murder defendant accused of beating an elderly Belmont man so badly he later died attacked two correctional officers at the county jail after having the hot water in his cell fixed, according to prosecutors.

Although the alleged incident occurred Aug. 4, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against Tyler James Hutchinson, 22, until yesterday. Hutchinson appears in court this afternoon on two felony counts of assault on a correctional officer and two misdemeanor counts of obstruction.

Defense attorney Jim Thompson was not aware of the new case and called it “unfortunate” because his client, who is currently being evaluated by court-appointed doctors, should be receiving mental treatment.

“I find it somewhat disheartening that the prosecution is filing new charges. It is really unfortunate if they are trying to capitalize on this,” Thompson said.

Conviction of the two felonies on top of two prior strikes for home invasions in Yolo County leave Hutchinson facing three strikes and a term of 25 years to life in prison — and that’s not counting the possible life in prison without parole or death sentence he could receive if convicted of murdering and robbing 88-year-old Albert Korn.

Korn died two weeks after allegedly encountering Hutchinson on the afternoon of June 2, 2009 after the transient entered a back window of a home on the 2500 block of Hallmark Drive in Belmont. Authorities believe he beat Korn before fleeing with his wallet and jewelry in the man’s car.

Fingerprints from the crime scene later matched Hutchinson who was arrested after a West Sacramento couple found him inside their home. After being convicted in that case and another home invasion, Hutchinson was sentenced to prison for six years and eight months and sent back to San Mateo County.

Although charged in Korn’s death, criminal proceedings are currently on hold while court-appointed doctors determine if he is competent to stand trial.

Prosecutor Al Giannini anticipates a similar move happening with the newest case and also the consolidation of it with the preceding murder case. Although Thompson had not yet seen the case, he agreed the same competency issues would likely be in play.

According to Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Lunny, Hutchinson assaulted the two officers at approximately 2 p.m. Oct. 4 while they provided security for a maintenance worker fixing the hot water in his cell sink. Hutchinson tried punching one with a closed right fist and kicked another in the head and chest as they brought him to the floor to cuff him, Lunny said.

The officers had no visible injuries and Hutchinson had only a minor scratch by his right armpit, Lunny said.

If Hutchinson goes to trial for murder, jurors may hear of this incident and a previous confrontation against two women and their children.

His attorney may bring it up himself to prove a mental defense, Giannini said.

In January 2009, Hutchinson was charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal threats and battery against two women and their young children at the Hillsdale Caltrain station. Hutchinson reportedly yelled epithets and spit at one woman as she threw away a cookie. Hutchinson was convicted and sentenced to 120 days jail and probation.

Hutchinson remains in custody on no-bail status. He returns to court Oct. 29 for a competency decision in the murder case.