assertions that the schizophrenic defendant accused of killing
a Millbrae cop four years ago is still fit for trial, a San
Mateo Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that his
deteriorated mental state warrants another look.
Judge Dale Hahn decided yesterday that Marvin Patrick
Sullivan, 47, has shown enough change in his mental state that
a new evaluation is required. And, although he declined to
reach a decision, Hahn is also weighing the option of
mandating Sullivan take his anti-psychotic medication while
the new determination is made — a first in California.
“I don’t see how anybody reviewing this record could say
that there was not a substantial question about the
defendant's competency,” said Judge Dale Hahn of Marvin
Prosecutor Steve Wagstaffe argued that Sullivan’s demeanor
and lack of cooperation is no different than it has ever been,
but Hahn agreed with defense attorney Vince O’Malley that is
to a larger extreme.
Over four years have passed since Sullivan allegedly shot
Millbrae police officer David Chetcuti to death and attempted
to kill San Bruno officer Seann Graham. Those years have been
punctuated by multiple reviews of Sullivan’s competency and
both sides agree he is a documented paranoid schizophrenic.
Sullivan, though, was declared fit to stand trial in September
and an October trial date was set.
Yesterday, Hahn suspended all criminal proceedings until
either doctor reports or a jury trial decides if Sullivan is
now fit but agreed to keep the trial date in place. Two
doctors and a jury competency trial date will be set this
Outside the courtroom, Wagstaffe said if the doctors
believe Sullivan is incompetent he will review their reports
to decide whether to push for a jury competency hearing.
Wagstaffe said he is also hopeful about his motion to compel
“A step has been taken. And that has never been done in the
state of California,” he said.
State law only allows for somebody to be forcefully
medicated in a hospital setting. Hahn said he needed more
information before ruling if that action can be forced while
Sullivan is in jail.
O’Malley said Sullivan has been uncooperative with all but
one doctor and refuses to take his medicine while in jail
because it is a different color than those given to him in
Napa State Hospital. He maintained that Sullivan’s refusal
makes the possibility of a defense nearly impossible.
“We cannot proceed to trial with a client who by virtue of
his mental illness cannot communicate with us,” O’Malley said
Wagstaffe countered that Sullivan is making rational
decisions not to take the medicine and to not cooperate with
his attorneys. Wagstaffe again pushed for Sullivan to be
mandated to take his medicine in order to keep his competency
in tact rather than create a cycle of hospital and jail stays.
“This will create a merry-go-round that insures he will
never go to trial,” Wagstaffe said.
Sullivan was arrested in April 1998 after a routine traffic
stop went awry. Graham pulled Sullivan over for expired tags
on his car but he came out shooting an automatic assault
rifle. Graham ducked for cover in a ditch and called for back
up. Chetcuti responded and was hit 13 times.
Sullivan refused to enter any plea on his behalf, so the
San Mateo County Grand Jury indicted him on charges of murder,
attempted murder and firearms possession last