A Manhattan Supreme Court judge declared a mistrial this morning in the case of 42-year-old David Tarloff, the schizophrenic accused of murdering a psychologist with a meat cleaver on the Upper East Side two years ago.
Judge Edward McLaughlin made his announcement after two court-appointed doctors found that Tarloff was “unfit and unable to participate in his own defense.” The New York Times says the doctors were summoned when Tarloff refused to leave his cell at the Bellevue Hospital prison ward for jury selection on Friday, but the the Daily News has a more colorful version of events via Tarloff’s lawyer:
“[He] stripped down naked and was running around the ward,” one of Tarloff’s two court-appointed lawyers, Bryan Konoski, told McLaughlin, of the events Friday night.
Tarloff’s lawyers admit their client killed Dr. Kathryn Faughey in her Upper East Side office in 2008, but are presenting a “not guilty by reason of insanity” defense. If the case ever makes it to trial, a successful “NGRI” defense means Tarloff would face time in psych treatment instead of prison.
McLaughlin granted prosecutors’ request for a second psych evaluation. A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office had no formal statement on McLaughlin’s ruling, but added that they will “be back in court on this tomorrow.”