Opening statements scheduled in '03 cabbie killing 

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in the San Mateo County Superior Court trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a cab driver in 2003 and who was initially found incompetent to stand trial.

Lousa Mataele, 37, has been in custody since he was arrested an hour after the Sept. 13, 2003, fatal shooting of 21-year-old Davinder Singh in Redwood City, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Based on two doctors' reports, Mataele on April 5, 2005, was found to be incompetent and was placed at Atascadero State Hospital, Wagstaffe said.

But in April 2008, the California Department of Mental Health found Mataele had "restored competency." About 10 months later, on Feb. 3, Judge Barbara Mallach reinstated criminal proceedings.

Mataele and Singh were in Singh's cab in Redwood City, along with another passenger who did not know Mataele, when Mataele apparently tried to rob Singh while he was driving, Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe said the struggle ended when Mataele pulled out a gun and shot Singh.

Singh then crashed his cab into a parked car, Wagstaffe said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passenger was injured but survived.

When Mataele was arrested, officers found a gun in his possession that matched the bullet used to kill Singh, Wagstaffe said.

Mar. 1 was the fourth day of motions before the court prior to the start of jury selection on Mar. 3.

Mataele remains in custody without bail.

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