Cleaver Killer Off To Psych Ward, Still Unfit for Trial

David Tarloff, the 42-year-old schizophrenic man accused of murdering a psychiatrist on the Upper East Side by slashing her 15 times with a meat cleaver two years ago, is officially (for realsies, and no, this time we're not kidding) "mentally unfit" to stand trial. At least until he's not. In the meantime, he'll be living in a state psych ward.

Tarloff was scheduled to go on trial last month for killing 56-year-old Dr. Kathryn Faughey in her office on the Upper East Side. After refusing to leave his cell for a jury selection hearing, court-appointed doctors determined he was "unfit and unable to participate in his own defense," leading Judge Edward McLaughlin to declare him incompetent for trial.

McLaughlin also granted prosecutors' request to conduct their own psych eval, and their own expert was consequently "unable to reach a conclusion about Mr. Tarloff's mental fitness," after he "refused to speak during a session with that doctor," the New York Times says.

Judge McLaughlin reportedly "blasted Bellevue Hospital officials for not cooperating with a doctor hired by prosecutors to assess Tarloff's mental status," the Daily News reported.

Tarloff will now be committed to a state psychiatric facility "until doctors find he has improved enough to stand trial -- if they ever do," according to the AP.

[shernandez@villagevoice.com]

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