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Accused killer fit for trial; defense claiming self-defense

 | Published on 4/27/2011


The Hillsborough man accused of fatally shooting his friend several times during an argument in his parents’ pool house is fit to stand trial on murder and gun charges, according to two of three court-appointed doctors.

The defense could contest the findings but defense attorney Chuck Smith said he and fellow counsel Tony Gibbs will seek “a trial date on the merits of the case, not the competency” of Bradley Allen Kleiman.

Smith anticipates seeking trial in October or November and said his client has a “strong case of self-defense.”

“The overwhelming fact is the victim brought the gun. My client thought he was going to dinner with a friend who was involved in the drug business,” Smith said.

According to prosecutors, Kleiman, 31, called 911 on June 15 to report shooting Christopher 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.  

Calvache was shot twice in the head and once in the buttocks.

In September, Judge Richard Livermore took the unusual step of seeking a competency evaluation before Kleiman entered a plea.

Two months later, a criminal grand jury indicted Kleiman.

Gibbs, Kleiman’s longtime attorney, has said his client has a long history of mental illness and prosecutor Joe Cannon acknowledged his prior contact with mental health services.

“But that is totally different from being found competent,” Cannon said. 

He was not surprised at yesterday’s competency conclusion, particularly because of the initial split.

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 and the attorneys return to court May 10 to reinstate criminal proceedings. 

He remains in custody on no-bail status.