San Mateo County murder suspect’s mental competency costly to determine 

A murder suspect in San Mateo County has such a long history of mental illness that it will require more public funding than usual to determine whether he’s mentally impaired.

That’s the gist of the ongoing competency proceedings for accused murderer Tyler Hutchinson, the 22-year-old transient who faces the death penalty for allegedly beating to death an 88-year-old Belmont man during a residential burglary on June 2, 2009.

Doctors say they’ll need more time — and public money — to assess whether Hutchinson has the mental capacity to stand trial for murder. On Monday, a judge in San Mateo County granted more funding.

The dollar amount was not immediately known. According to officials in San Mateo Superior Court, doctors are paid a flat rate for competency proceedings, depending on the case. The cost is typically between $400 and $700, but the Hutchinson case will require more funding, a judge ruled Monday.

“The doctors said to do the job, they need to read all the records,” District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Tuesday.

Judge Mark Forcum did not put a monetary cap on the two psychiatrists completing their reports on Hutchinson, Wagstaffe said.

"However, he stated they have just a few more hours of work to complete, so the cost will not be extensive," Wagstaffe added.

The doctors have been asked to determine Hutchinson’s mental state before a competency hearing set for Monday.

The “bizarre” Hutchinson made headlines after being accused in Belmont’s lone homicide of 2009. He is accused of fatally beating Albert Korn and stealing his Jaguar during a residential burglary.

The city’s police chief called the hideous attack “one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in my law enforcement career.”

Meanwhile, Hutchinson is facing additional charges in connection with an “unprovoked attack” on two correctional officers in his jail cell, Wagstaffe said.

The alleged attack occurred Aug. 4, Wagstaffe said.

During a court appearance involving the murder case, defense attorneys said they doubted Hutchinson’s competency to stand trial. In a courtroom outburst, Hutchinson tried to prove his attorneys wrong, but in doing so he instead strengthened their case.

“The defendant spoke out and in his usual bizarre manner objected to his attorney’s motion,” prosecutors said.

Hutchinson remains in custody on no-bail status.

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