Criminal Proceedings Suspended in Attempted Murder Case

Court grants request for Moss Beach resident to be assessed for mental competency.

The January jury trial for a man who allegedly into the neck of his Moss Beach roommate with a serrated knife last Dec. has been suspended, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said today.

Instead, attempted murder suspect David Vanalstine will now undergo a mental evaluation to assess whether he is competent to stand trial.

The San Mateo County Superior Court granted the request for evaluation from the suspect's attorney on Monday afternoon after he expressed doubts regarding the 57-year-old's competency.

Sitting next to his client in the courtroom, Frank Bell did not present specific reasons as to why he believed Vanalstine should undergo the mental evaluation.

"Defense counsel is not required to state on the record the reasons that he believes his client may not be competent to stand trial," San Mateo County Chief Criminal Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.  "All he has to do is say that he has some doubt as to his client's competency."

Bell's request, Guidotti said, suspended Vanalstine's jury trial originally scheduled for Jan. 23, as well as triggered the need for doctors' reports.

Dr. Paul Good and San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Eric Woodward were assigned to administer the evaluation, according to Guidotti.

Vanalstine, who also faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery, will be required to return to court the morning of Jan. 24. On that date, the court will receive the doctors' reports and set further competency proceedings, Guidotti said.

The victim of the incident which took place at the Pillar Ridge Manufactured Home Community in Moss Beach received emergency medical treatment after calling 9-1-1. She was then transported to Stanford Hospital for surgery as her injuries were deemed life-threatening. The victim .

Vanalstine remains in custody on no bail.

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