I’m Competent; No, I’m Not

Defense attorneys alleged that Mason put a video camera in Lee’s rented room and that Mason bragged about his relationships.

Lee admitted that he intentionally killed Mason, according to court papers. “The defendant claims that when he killed the victim he was acting in lawful self defense,” one prosecuting attorney stated in papers filed with the court.

But prosecutors say it was murder when Lee stabbed the older man and inflicted those 51 knife wounds.

Dr. Steven Campman, who performed the autopsy, listed the cause of death as multiple sharp-force injuries. The doctor believed the weapon to be a knife about an inch wide, and he said he found defensive wounds on Mason’s hands and forearms.

The majority of wounds were on the face, neck, and chest. There were a large number of wounds in the neck area, made front to back and so closely clustered that the doctor decided the victim was probably not moving much during that part of the attack. Dr. Campman estimated that Mason was killed the evening before he was found, the night of October 15, 2005.

Defense attorneys have stated in court papers that the older man was a sexual predator who sought out young men such as Lee. They allege that Mason offered Lee drugs in exchange for sex acts. Defense proposed that Lee was acting “either in self defense and/or in an uncontrollable rage, due to unwanted sexual advances of the decedent.” These defense positions are found in court papers filed in 2008.

Brandon Taylor Lee is described in sheriff’s records as a white man, 5 foot 8 inches and 150 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He will turn 29 at the end of October, and he is now held without bail. He has been in custody since the morning the detective found him on October 16, 2005.

Lee has met many times with mental health experts and has been found mentally competent, and then not, multiple times. During his not-mentally-competent periods, Lee spends time at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County.

In July 2006, Lee was mentally competent; then, in June 2007, he was not. In September 2007, he was mentally competent; then, in May 2008, he was not. In August 2009, Lee became competent again.

In September 2009, an attorney stated that Lee had stopped taking his medications, so a judge ordered “involuntarily [sic] administration of antipsychotic medication.”

During one of Lee’s competent spells, in September 2006, prosecutors presented evidence at a preliminary hearing.

The DNA in drops of blood found on the floor in Mason’s home matched Lee’s DNA. A towel found in the laundry room had several blood stains whose DNA matched either Lee’s or Mason’s.

At the end of the 2006 hearing, Lee was ordered to face a single count of first-degree murder.

In January of this year, Lee’s public defender entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense attorney Sloan Ostbye stated in court papers that the defendant “has been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and is suffering from hallucinations.”

Next Monday, October 4, at 9:00 a.m., the results of Lee’s latest evaluation for mental competency are scheduled to be presented to the court, in Department 53 of San Diego’s downtown courthouse.

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