Fresno racist killing spree suspect admitted faking mental health issues in prior case

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The Fresno man suspected of a racist killing spree and killing four men last year may have disrupted his own defense in phone calls from jail. (KFSN)

The Fresno man suspected of a racist killing spree and killing four men last year may have disrupted his own defense in phone calls from jail.

Carl Williams, Zack Randalls, Mark Gassett, and David Jackson were all gunned down.

Kori Muhammad is in the middle of a mental competency trial to determine whether his murder cases move forward or get stalled while he goes to a mental hospital for treatment.

But prosecutors argue he seems to be faking any mental health issues.

Interviews with the accused murderer convinced two psychiatrists he was paranoid, delusional, and psychotic.

Dr. Richard Kendall was the first, and he says the defendant claimed to have thought control and said he used it to commit mass shootings years before the killing spree in Fresno.

"He indicated to you that he believed he caused Jared Loughner to kill the people with Gabby Giffords?" Defense Attorney Richard Beshwate asked.

"That is correct," Dr. Kendall said.

But prosecutor Brian Hutchins pointed out a lot of the supposedly paranoid ideas attributed to the suspect, like the disappearances of several black women and children have also gotten coverage in mainstream media outlets.

And six years ago, another psychiatrist said he faked or exaggerated his mental health issues.

Dr. Michael Barnett based his diagnosis on words straight from the horse's mouth.

"He told me that he had been arrested for fraudulent checks in 1997," Dr. Barnett said. "And he stated that he and again this is in quotation marks so it's a direct quote - 'played crazy' then got out of the charge."

He told Dr. Barnett he tried it again in a federal case, but that time it did not work.

Both court-appointed psychiatrists on this 2017 murder case, Dr. Kendall, and Dr. Howard Terrell found him incompetent to stand trial.

But prosecutors disagreed.

And on the same day as his interview with Dr. Kendall, in which the psychiatrist said he could not carry a conversation without diving into delusion, he seemed to have lucid conversations in jail calls.
"My uncle Tommy's supposed to be sending us some money to put on my books," he said to the man on the other end of the line.

"Who?" the other man asked.

"My uncle Tommy," the defendant said.

In another jail call after a court hearing, he discussed adjusting his frequent courtroom interruptions based on a judge's ruling against media coverage.

"Yeah, so I did my outburst then so I could be recorded because the judge was saying that wasn't going to be recorded," he said.

In those jail calls, the defendant admitted to the killings and often talked about getting more publicity and monitoring news sites for stories about himself.

The judge could decide on his competency as soon as Wednesday.
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