Danville Man Found Competent to Stand Trial for Mother's Murder

Andrew Mantas, 21, was 16 when his mother, 43-year-old Dimitra Mantas, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat in the family's Danville home. He is scheduled to next appear in court on June 27.

By Bay City News

Psychiatrists at Napa State Hospital have found a Danville man competent to stand trial for the 2006 bludgeoning death of his mother, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral said Monday.          

Andrew Mantas, now 21, was 16 when his mother, 43-year-old Dimitra Mantas, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat in the family's Danville home on Nov. 6, 2006.          

Police arrested Andrew Mantas just hours after the slaying as he was driving through Blackhawk Country Club on a stolen golf cart. He told police he thought someone was after him, his attorney, Daniel Horowitz, said in the weeks following the slaying.          

Horowitz could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon but has said that Mantas had a progressive mental illness for at least 18 months before his mother's was killed.          

In the weeks before his mother's death, Danville police had documented at least two incidents in which Mantas had randomly attacked people, Horowitz said.         

Neighbors also told police that he had been behaving strangely and knocking on their doors asking for help, Horowitz said.          

Just days before Dimitra Mantas was killed, she took her son to her priest and told him she believed he was possessed by demons. The priest told her that he needed immediate psychiatric help, Horowitz said.

But when Dimitra Mantas took her son to a hospital, staff refused to admit him, Horowitz said. They told her to take him home and make an appointment for him with a psychologist the following week, Horowitz said.

Two days later, Dimitra Mantas was beaten to death.          

In the months that followed, Horowitz said, Mantas had no idea that his mother was dead or that he was accused of killing her; he heard voices and was diagnosed with several severe mental illnesses.          

Doctors tried to treat him at Juvenile Hall in Martinez so that he could be found competent to stand trial, which requires that a defendant understand court proceedings and be able to assist in his own defense. Eventually, Mantas was sent to Napa State Hospital for further treatment.          

Cabral said he was not expecting to receive the letter Monday stating that Mantas was now competent to stand trial.          

The next step will be for Horowitz to accept or challenge the findings of Mantas' doctors in Napa, Cabral said.          

If he accepts the findings, Mantas likely will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, Cabral said.

The district attorney's office can then accept that plea and Mantas could be sent back to Napa for 25 years to life or until he is deemed sane. Or the case could go  to trial, Cabral said.

Mantas has been charged as an adult and his next hearing is scheduled for June 27 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.


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