A mistrial was declared in the case of a 28-year-old Lake Elsinore man who allegedly stabbed his parents over bills they wanted him to pay for living on their property.
Jury selection, which began June 9, was abruptly halted Wednesday after Riverside County Superior Court Judge Albert Wojcik declared a mistrial in the case of Clinton Charles Blake.
The judge ruled in favor of a defense motion for mistrial, based on the defendant's competency to stand trial and his availability: Blake's attorney was informed that the defendant was not in court because he was in the hospital instead.
It's unclear why Blake was hospitalized.
On Thursday, another judge allowed Blake's defense attorney to step down and appointed a conflicts defense attorney.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer ordered everyone back to court June 28 for a new trial-readiness conference.
Blake has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but in the past been deemed competent to stand trial.
A jury was to decide whether he was sane at the time of the attacks.
The defendant was arrested Dec. 8, 2006, not far from his parents' home in the 21000 block of Hyatt Avenue, where he allegedly stabbed his mother, Cynthia, and father, John.
The defendant's father had been arguing with Blake about paying some money toward rent and also paying on his own car insurance when the attack occurred, Deputy District Attorney Rich Necochea said at the time.
John Blake had threatened to cut off electricity to the mobile home where the son lived since being moved out of a bedroom to allow his older brother to stay there, Necochea said.
"He pretty much lived with his parents his whole life, except for a few months when he stayed in his older brother's apartment. He didn't quite find his niche,'' Necochea said.
John Blake suffered wounds to his face, head and back and Cynthia Blake received two deep punctures to the base of her neck and some other cuts, according to prosecutors.
The brother, Sean, interrupted the attack and drove Blake off the property with a sword, Necochea said.
Police spotted the defendant walking down the road, away from the home, and found the knife discarded on the road, the prosecutor said.
Investigators found some written material referring to the suspect's plans to kill both parents and his brother, Necochea said, indicating that the act was premeditated.
Blake is looking at more than 45 years to life if convicted of attempted murder, with allegations of committing great bodily injury, use of a deadly weapon and committing a serious felony.
Deputy District Attorney Jess Walsh is prosecuting the case.