Danville man found competent to stand trial for mother's murder


Psychiatrists at Napa State Hospital have found a Danville man competent to stand trial for the 2006 bludgeoning death of his mother, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Dan Cabral said today.

Andrew Mantas, now 21, was 16 when his mother, 43-year-old Dimitra Mantas, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat in the family's Danville home on Nov. 6, 2006.

Police arrested Andrew Mantas just hours after the slaying as he was driving through Blackhawk country club on a stolen golf cart. He told police he thought someone was after him, his attorney Daniel Horowitz said in the weeks following the slaying.

Horowitz could not be immediately reached for comment this afternoon, but has said in the past that Andrew Mantas had been suffering from a progressive mental illness for at least 18 months before his mother's death.

In the weeks before his mother's death, Danville police had documented at least two incidents where Andrew Mantas had randomly attacked people, Horowitz said.

Neighbors also told police that Andrew Mantas had been behaving strangely and knocking on their doors asking for help, Horowitz said.

Just days before Dimitra Mantas was killed, she took her son to her priest and told him she believed he was possessed by demons. The priest told her that her son needed immediate psychiatric help, Horowitz said.

But when Dimitra Mantas took her son to a hospital, hospital staff refused to admit him, Horowitz said. They told her to take him home and make an appointment for him with a psychologist the following week, Horowitz said.

Two days later, Dimitra Mantas was beaten to death.

In the months that followed, Horowitz said Andrew Mantas had no idea his mother was dead or that he had allegedly killed her. He heard voices and was diagnosed with several severe mental illnesses.

Doctors tried to treat him at Juvenile Hall in Martinez and restore his sanity enough that he could be found competent to stand trial, which means he needed to be able to understand court proceedings and assist in his own defense, but he was eventually sent to Napa State Hospital for further treatment.

Cabral said he was not expecting to receive the letter today stating that Andrew Mantas was now competent to stand trial.

The next step will be for Horowitz to either accept or challenge the findings of Andrew Mantas' doctors in Napa, Cabral said.

If he accepts the findings, Andrew Mantas will likely plead not guilty by reason of insanity, Cabral said.

The district attorney's office can then either accept that plea and Andrew Mantas could be sent back to Napa for 25 years to life or until he regains his sanity. Or they could take the case to trial, Cabral said.

Andrew Mantas has been charged as an adult and his next hearing is scheduled for June 27 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 7:18 am

A very sad commentary on the state of awareness of severe mental illness in this day and age. Andrew sounds as if he was suffering from severe paranoid schizophrenia and his mother thought he was possessed by demons? She takes his to the hospital and they refuse to admit him? Another sad statement of our lack of adequate psychiatric hospitalization resources here in the SF Bay Area. Now that he has been, "restored to sanity" he can now be tried for murder? If he was insane at the time he killed his mother why waste taxpayers money by having a trial? This whole story just supports my contention that we don't know what we are doing with severe and persistent mental illness in our society.

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Posted by Mark
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

I can admit to knowing something about mental heath issues firsthand. And I can state how hard it is to suffer from mental heath concerns in a society which is vastly ignorant to them. For example, my condition is quite mild in comparison to the case outlined in this commentary, but, for example, to apply for a job I would have to conceal my condition from a prospective employer as there is little to no insight and understanding regarding mental health concerns in workplaces today. In my case, it has taken most of my young adult life to learn about my own issues, e.g., where they were past on from within my family, to learn about and recognize the actual symptoms, etc. It took great pains to very gradually improve my condition - it is a very deep and complex condition which took most of my time and energy and concentration to remedy. Most assume that psychiatric care and medications are the only means of recovery. Although I admit to times where I wish there was a quick means of recovery, I believe the way I went about it was actually the best - for my case. Regarding the situation in this commentary, clearly this was a much worse condition that needed special care, isolation, and psychiatric treatment. But also it speaks to the inability, and or lack of education regarding mental health issues in our day and age. If we are to be a learned society on this topic then this specific case, for instance, may not have ended in such a way. But sadly this is treated statistically, I mean how many instances of this kind have happened in Danville since then? Has anyone as a result of this taken the time to learn about mental health?

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

And they charged him as an "adult," as well.
Wow.....a double-whammy of possible mistakes!

Lesson: Don't you dare go crazy! We'll mix you in with the criminals...and you can kill them...or be killed.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

I too feel this is a sad commentary on treatment of someone suffering from severe mental health issues. Especially since his mother would still be here if only someone had cared and paid attention to his mental state. She tried to get help and because of the lack of understanding or caring she is gone and her son is doomed to a life of pain and sadness for what he had done. Does anyone really believe he would have done such a thing if not for mental illness? I can only hope he will continue to be treated for his condition(s) and will be shown some mercy when he goes to trial.

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Posted by marimask
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I concur Bill! My brother has suffered with Paranoid Schizophrenia for most of his life. He's been pushed all around the system. When he is committed, a patient advocate comes around and he's released onto the streets. I just thank God that he's not a violent person (yet). The system is afraid of him, so they just ignore the issue. Strangely, this boy was in my son's class and he knew he wasn't "right" and been exposed to my brother (his uncle) all his life. You're right, this boy/man was mentally ill at the time; how can he be "all better" now?! One DOESN'T recover from mental illness (not schizophrenia anyway. Sad, Sad Day!

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