Oakland judge orders third doctor to examine accused serial killer

OAKLAND (BCN) — A judge Friday ordered a third psychiatrist to examine a 49-year-old former bartender who’s accused of killing three women in Oakland more than 20 years ago because the first two psychiatrists who recently examined him disagreed about whether he’s competent to stand trial.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy said one of the psychiatrists who examined Michael Monert, 49, recently concluded that he isn’t mentally competent to stand trial but the other psychiatrist who saw Monert said that he was competent.

Murphy told Monert, “We have to have a third doctor examine you to give a third opinion” that would break the tie.

However, Monert said, “I see no reason to talk to another doctor,” saying that he has already been examined by eight psychiatrists over the years.

Monert, who was guarded by two bailiffs during his hearing Friday, told Murphy, “Don’t waste the court’s time.”

Murphy said it’s up to Monert to decide if he wants to cooperate with the third psychiatrist but said if Monert doesn’t talk to the psychiatrist his case can’t proceed to a trial.

Monert is charged with three counts of murder and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders in the alleged hammer attack killings of three women between 1989 and 1991.

Monert went on trial for the killings on May 17 but Murphy declared a mistrial the next day at the request of Monert’s attorney, Todd Bequette, who said his conduct in court, which included interrupting attorneys during their opening statements, indicated he couldn’t assist in his defense and was incompetent to stand trial.

Criminal proceedings against Monert previously were suspended in 2014 so he could be mentally evaluated but in 2015 he was found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Bequette said Monert suffers from a delusional disorder because of a traumatic brain injury that he suffered when he was physically assaulted in 2002 and “the stresses of his trial” seemed to exacerbate his symptoms.

In his opening statement in Monert’s trial, prosecutor Butch Ford said Monert was “a serial killer” who lured women he believed were prostitutes, killed them by hitting them in the head with a hammer and then
dumped their bodies in secluded parts of Oakland.

Ford said the killings of the three women had gone unsolved for more than 20 years, but in 2012 Monert was arrested and charged with the murder of Pamela Sanders in the 900 block of West Oakland on July 29, 1991, after his fingerprints, which were on file for a separate sexual assault case in Oregon, were matched to those found on a tarp that was covering her body.

After undergoing a preliminary hearing and being ordered to stand trial for Sanders’ death, Monert sent a note to bailiffs at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in December 2013 saying that he wanted to make “a full confession,” Ford said.

Monert then provided Oakland police Officer Herb Sanders, who was investigating the case, with details about Sanders’ death and also said he had killed 29-year-old Debra Lynn Adkins at the entrance to Roberts Regional Recreation Area on Skyline Boulevard on Oct. 1, 1989, and 37-year-old Janie Flahiff on May 20, 1991, according to Ford.

Monert was charged with the additional murders in January 2014.

Ford said that when Monert made his confession he revealed information only the killer would know.

But Bequette said in his opening statement that, “The criminal justice system is prosecuting an innocent man” and that because of his delusional disorder Monert became falsely convinced that he had killed the
three women.

Bequette said Monert’s confession is filled with “grandiose delusions” and should be disregarded.

Murphy ruled before Monert’s trial began that his confession could be admitted as evidence but Monert told the judge Friday that he believes his confession is “unconstitutional” and should be thrown out.

Monert also said, “I want another lawyer” because he’s unhappy with Bequette.

However, Murphy didn’t act on Monert’s request and maintained Bequette as his attorney.

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