Jury to determine if Clovis man who killed his wife, mother-in-law was sane

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Clovis man accused of killing his estranged wife and mother-in-law is now competent to stand trial.

Dave McCann's competency may have been restored, but his mental health will be questioned again because of his latest plea in court.

McCann allegedly stabbed his wife and mother-in-law to death three years ago.

His trial had been on hold after a judge ruled he was not able to assist his attorney with his defense based on doctor's reports submitted earlier this year.

But he returned recently from Atascadero State Hospital where doctors were working to restore his health.

A medical team has determined he is now competent, so he pleaded not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.

So now it's up to experts to figure out whether he was insane at the time he's accused of killing his wife and mother in law.

The two attorneys at the center of the case against Dave McCann asked the judge Thursday to get expert input on the defendant's state of mind the day Clovis Police say he went on a violent rampage, slitting his wife's throat and her mother's.

McCann was absent from the hearing - his defense attorney Scott Baly said he was awaiting a bus to take him back to Atascadero State Hospital to continue receiving treatment. Most defendants remain in the county jail once they are treated and competent, but this was an exception.

"The medical director from Atascadero State Hospital made a recommendation that he be housed there to maintain his competency and it's based on that order the judge made the order to make him go back," Baly said.

The issue of sanity and competency is different and distinct. Sanity refers to the day the crime was committed.

McCann was already evaluated by two local doctors earlier this year on the competency matter. They determined at the time he was seen he was not able to assist his attorney. However, after receiving medication and mental treatment, his competency has now been restored.

Once a jury hears the case, they will first determine his guilt and then his sanity at the time of the double murder.

Prosecutors are no longer asking for the death penalty. So if McCann is found guilty, he could face life without the possibility of parole.
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