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Local News in Brief : Liberace Kin Claims Insanity in Stabbing

February 23, 1988

A Van Nuys man, related to the late entertainer Liberace, said Monday he was insane at the time he stabbed his sister in the stomach last November.

Prosecutors recommended that Lester Lee Liberace, 33, a nephew of the entertainer, serve up to seven years in Patton State Hospital. However, he could be released earlier if authorities determine that he no longer poses a threat to himself or to society.

Liberace is scheduled to be sentenced April 14 in Van Nuys Superior Court.

He was charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 6 stabbing. He could have faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison, Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Pargament said.

On Monday, Liberace pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the assault charge and, in exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the attempted murder charge and recommend a lighter sentence.

The charges stem from a disagreement that Liberace had with his sister, Ina Liberace, 28, after he left the Chatsworth Health and Rehabilitation Center, a private mental health facility, on Nov. 5, authorities said.

Liberace went to his family's Van Nuys home the next day, then asked to be returned to the Chatsworth center, prosecutors said.

His sister said she would return him to the center after dinner, but he became upset and demanded to be taken immediately, prosecutors said. When his sister delayed, Liberace went to the kitchen, returned with an 8-inch knife and stabbed her in the stomach, prosecutors said.

Liberace had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and a police report shows his sister is his conservator, authorities said. Liberace is in a locked ward at Pasadena Community Hospital awaiting sentencing.

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