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DANA POINT : Hilbun's Competence Hearing is Set Nov. 1

September 15, 1993|MARK I. PINSKY

The man accused of opening fire inside a Dana Point post office during a two-day rampage that left two dead and six wounded will have a hearing Nov. 1 to determine his competence to stand trial.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists disagreed about whether Mark Richard Hilbun of Dana Point is currently capable of understanding the charges against him and assisting in his own defense, prompting the need for a full hearing. Both sides have the right to request that a jury decide Hilbun's competence.

While in the psychiatric ward of the Orange County jail, the 39-year-old Hilbun has lost about 40 pounds and now weighs 120, according to his attorney, Deputy Public Defender David C. Biggs.

Hilbun did not appear in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday, where a judge set the date for his competency hearing.

Hilbun is accused of fatally stabbing his mother, Frances, along with her dog at the woman's Corona del Mar home on May 6. Prosecutors said that Hilbun then drove to the Dana Point post office, where he had been fired in December, and shot two postal workers, one fatally. Five others were wounded over a two-day period in Dana Point, Newport Beach and Fountain Valley, attacks police attribute to Hilbun.

If a jury is called to consider Hilbun's competence, attorneys for both sides said, the evidence presented will be confined to that issue, and jurors will not consider his guilt or innocence. But unlike a criminal trial, the burden of proof in this proceeding will be on Hilbun's public defenders to prove that he is not now able to assist in his defense.

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