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Mental-health questions delay trial in handyman's slaying

Almost a year after the death of a Costa Mesa handyman, the trial of the man accused of killing him is still on hold because of questions about the defendant's mental health.

Christopher Leovy, 34, has been behind bars since Sept. 11, when Costa Mesa police arrested him in connection with the fatal bludgeoning of 54-year-old John Kubat after the two got in an argument at a vacant building where Kubat was working.

Prosecutors charged Leovy with murder and a felony count of battery on a police officer stemming from his arrest.

Defense attorney Joel Tamraz says Leovy's erratic behavior and paranoia have kept him from telling his side of the story.

Since December, court-appointed psychologists have tried repeatedly to talk with Leovy to assess whether he's competent enough to aid in his defense. But Leovy has refused to meet with them, according to Tamraz.

Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Vickie Hix told Leovy on Tuesday that the psychologists just want to evaluate him. But Leovy interrupted.

"They're trying to prescribe me medication," he said.

Tamraz said Leovy is convinced that someone is trying to kill him.

"He's got a lot of worries," Tamraz said.

If Leovy continues to refuse to speak to the psychologists, Tamraz said he may try to use jail records to argue that his client isn't mentally able to stand trial, in which case he would be held at a treatment facility until he's deemed fit.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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