Suspect in cleaver slaying called fit for trial

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man accused of using a meat cleaver to hack a psychotherapist to death and injure her colleague was indicted Friday after a judge reported that psychiatrists found the defendant fit to stand trial.

David Tarloff, 39, was charged with first-degree murder in the attack on Kathryn Faughey in her Manhattan offices Feb. 12. If convicted, he would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tarloff was also charged with attempted murder in the alleged attack on a psychiatrist, Dr. Kent Shinbach, who tried to help Faughey and was badly injured. Tarloff faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on that charge.

The grand jury also charged Tarloff with second-degree murder — punishable by 25 years to life in prison — first-degree assault and first-degree attempted robbery.

At a hearing Friday morning, Judge James Gibbons of Manhattan Criminal Court said a psychiatric report from Bellevue Hospital Center concluded that Tarloff "is not incapacitated — that is, the defendant is fit to stand trial."

At a hearing that afternoon, defense attorney Bryan Konoski asked Gibbons to appoint a psychiatrist to examine Tarloff for the defense and to allow him to hire a court-paid private investigator.

The judge said he was transferring the case to state Supreme Court, which hears all felony cases, for a hearing on March 25. He said he would leave it to the new judge to act on Konoski's requests.

Tarloff was arrested Feb. 16 after police matched his palm prints with those found in Faughey's blood-smeared office. Police said Tarloff told investigators he had set out to rob Shinbach, who had him institutionalized 17 years ago.

Police and prosecutors have not explained why Tarloff attacked Faughey, who was stabbed or slashed 15 times with the meat cleaver and a 9-inch knife.