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Judge: Son accused of bludgeoning father to death competent to stand trial

A young man who allegedly bludgeoned his 64-year-old father to death with 12-pound dumbbells in their University City apartment is incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Nikola Chivatchev, 25, is charged with murder in the October 2009 death of his father, Alexander. The elder Chivatchev was attacked while sleeping in the early morning hours of Oct. 7.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

After reviewing a psychiatrist’s report, Judge Howard Shore ruled Wednesday that Chivatchev does not understand the nature of the second-degree murder charge against him and cannot help his attorney at trial.

The judge ordered that the defendant be sent to Patton State Hospital for up to three years, or until he is judged competent.

Shore found that the defendant lacks the ability to voluntarily take his medications.

Chivatchev’s mother Ludmilla testified at an early hearing that her son’s demeanor started to change about four years ago, when he withdrew from the family and started drinking, she said. He refused 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.