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Competency hearing set for July 14 for man accused of killing father

A July 14 hearing was set Monday to determine whether a young man accused of beating his father to death with 12-pound dumbbells as he slept last fall is mentally competent to stand trial on a murder charge.

Nikola Chivatchev, 25, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the bludgeoning death of 64-year-old Alexander Chivatchev early on the morning of Oct. 7 in their University City apartment.

Monday, defense attorney Michael Garcia told Judge Frederick Maguire that a mixup prevented his client from being evaluated by doctors as scheduled.

An upcoming mental competency evaluation will determine whether the defendant understands the charges against him and can assist with his own defense.

If doctors find Chivatchev is competent to stand trial, criminal charges will be reinstated and a trial will be set. If not, the defendant will be sent to a mental hospital.

Chivatchev’s mother Ludmilla testified at an early hearing that her son’s demeanor started to change about four years ago, when he withdrew and preferred to be alone. He began drinking, refusing to share anything and didn’t have a lot of friends, she said.

She and her husband took their son to a doctor and got him some medication, but he took it for a week to 10 days and stopped, she said.

If convicted, the defendant faces 26 years to life in prison.