Attacker of elderly Sikh sent to mental hospital

Washington, Dec 19 : A US court has ordered that a homeless man, legally incompetent to stand trial for attacking an elderly Sikh man earlier this year, be sent to a psychiatric hospital until he is competent to stand trial.

Judge W. Kent Levis of the Fresno County Superior Court has ordered that Gilbert Garcia Jr., 30, be sent to Atascadero State Hospital in California until he is determined to be legally competent to stand trial, The Fresno Bee reported Wednesday.

Garcia has been charged with attempted murder and elder abuse after he attacked Piara Singh, an 82-year-old Sikh man, with a steel rod outside the Nanaksar Sikh Temple in southwest Fresno in central California May 5 in what the prosecutors have called a hate crime.

Following judge Levis's order, Garcia will be required to take anti-psychotic medication in the state hospital.

According to the court order, Garcia will have to remain in the hospital until he is competent to stand trial, but his stay cannot be more than 15 years.

Normally, inmates spend less than a year in a state hospital before their competency is restored.

Garcia approached Piara Singh on a cycle outside the Sikh temple just after 7 a.m. May 5 and without saying a word started beating the victim on the head with a rod.

Singh was left with broken ribs and head wounds.

Members of the Sikh community had expressed outrage at the act.

--IANS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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