Man convicted of attempted manslaughter for Berkeley attack

OAKLAND (BCN) — A Texas man who suffers from schizophrenia was found not guilty of premeditated attempted murder for an attack in downtown Berkeley in 2013 but was convicted of the lesser charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter.

Duane Nailor, 56, was also convicted of mayhem and one count of assault with a deadly weapon for the incident in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2013, but was acquitted of two other counts of assault and a charge of evading a police officer.

Alameda County Superior Court jurors, who deliberated for four days before reaching their verdict Monday, will return to court on Wednesday for the sanity phase of Nailor’s trial.

If jurors find that Nailor was legally insane at the time at the time of the offenses, he will be committed to a secure mental institution instead of being sent to state prison.

In their closing arguments last week, prosecutor Gemma Daggs and defense attorney Christina Moore disagreed about Nailor’s state of mind but agreed about many of the facts in the 2013 incident, in which he allegedly assaulted two men in downtown Berkeley, fled from police, hit a patrol car with his SUV and crashed into a tree.

Daggs said Nailor “knew what he was doing” when he allegedly beat two men with a pipe in front of the Bank of America branch at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street at about 12:45 a.m. that morning, hit a responding patrol car near the Berkeley police station several blocks away and drove at speeds of up to 90 mph before crashing into a tree at The Alameda and Hopkins Street, after which he was arrested.

Daggs said Nailor got upset when two men “had the audacity to ask him for cigarettes” when they spotted him in front of the Bank of America building and responded by hitting them with a long pipe that he got from his trunk, beating one of the victims so badly that he nearly died.

But Moore said Nailor has suffered from schizophrenia for most of his life and his actions that day were the result of active psychoses he was undergoing.

Moore said Nailor has spent about 15 years in mental institutions and “thought that he was being apprehended by the devil’s clan and wanted to prevent himself from being carried to hell.”

She said Nailor told police after he was arrested that he worked in intelligence for the U.S. government and had been appointed by the president.

The defense attorney said Nailor had been on psychotropic medications to control his schizophrenia but stopped taking them after his sister no longer allowed him to live with her and he was short on money.

The charges for which Nailor was convicted all stemmed from his attack on Shawn Bradford of Oakland, one of the two men he confronted in downtown Berkeley.

Daggs said Nailor beat Bradford “within inches of his life.”

But jurors acquitted Nailor of a charge that he assaulted the other man, DeShaun Montgomery, and of a charge that he assaulted the Berkeley police officer whose patrol car he rammed.

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