Before a jury could even be finalized, a State Supreme Court judge has declared a mistrial in the case of the schizophrenic man accused of slaughtering a psychologist with a meat cleaver in February 2008. Though David Tarloff was found fit to stand trial in August, today two court-appointed doctors visited Tarloff in his holding cell and found him "catatonic" and mentally unfit to stand trial. "He stripped down naked and was running around the ward," one of Tarloff's court-appointed lawyers told the judge. The Daily News reports that the "unfit" ruling elicited groans from the courtroom.
"I have to declare a mistrial," Judge Edward McLaughlin said. "That doesn't mean there won't be a trial at some point. But if there isn't, it is not because everything hasn't been explored." City Room says prosecutors "expressed skepticism" over the latest finding, and will have their own expert doctor examine Tarloff tomorrow. If that doctor also finds Tarloff unfit, he'll be sent to a mental institution for several months or a year until he is retested and found fit to stand trial.
On the day Tarloff allegedly killed Kathryn Faughey, he was waiting for his old psychiatrist, Dr. Kent Shinbach, who shared office spaces with Faughey. Tarloff allegedly slashed Faughey 15 times with a meat cleaver and then attacked Shinbach when the other doctor came into Faughey's office to intervene. Tarloff, 42, admits to slaying Faughey but says he was driven to kill her by voices that he thought were God telling him to do it. His lawyers, obviously, are arguing that he's innocent by reason of insanity.