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Doctors split on competency of murder suspect

 | Published on 1/21/2011


A pair of court-appointed doctors disagree whether a Hillsborough man accused of fatally shooting his friend several times during an argument in his parents’ pool house is competent to stand trial.

After receiving the split decision, Judge Lisa Novak appointed a third tie-breaker to determine if Bradley Kleiman should face trial and possible incarceration or hospitalization in a state facility. That report is due in March.

Kleiman, 30, is charged with murder and the use of a firearm in the June death of Christopher Calvache. Rather than wait for a preliminary hearing, prosecutors last November asked a criminal grand jury to indict Kleiman. The move means if Kleiman is hospitalized but later returned to San Mateo County, he will move straight to Superior Court for trial. Also, hospitalized defendants who are not returned for trial within three years and do not have an indictment will have the case dismissed.

Competency is a defendant’s ability to aid in their own defense while sanity is his or her mental state at the time of an alleged crime.

Kleiman claims the shooting of Calvache, which included two shots in the head and one in the buttocks, was an accident. However, prosecutors believe the pair may have been arguing over a marijuana business. According to prosecutors, Kleiman called 911 just after 6 p.m. that Tuesday to report shooting Calvache, 30, in a pool house detached from a five-bedroom main house on De Sabla Road where his parents live. Calvache and Kleiman were the only ones on the property at the time. Kleiman said he shot Calvache during a struggle after his friend pulled a gun on him.

Prosecutors also say the friends had planned to go to dinner together before the altercation. When police arrived, they reportedly found Kleiman carrying marijuana plants in the backyard and a weapon and casings inside the pool house. Authorities have not confirmed who owned the gun.

Kleiman was on parole at the time of the shooting for felony driving under the influence causing injury and reckless evading a police officer. He also had a narcotics possession charge in Santa Barbara.

His longtime attorney, Tony Gibbs, has said his client has a long history of mental illness.

In September, Judge Richard Livermore sought a competency evaluation before Kleiman entered a plea.

Kleiman remains in custody on no-bail status.