A trial date of April 5 has been set for a Santa Rosa man charged with killing his father in 2011. Houston Herczog, 22, has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of his father Michael Herczog, 63, in their home Nov. 26, 2011. Santa Rosa officers went to the Herczog home on Parkhurst Drive in Rincon Valley around 1:30 a.m. Herczog’s sister, who called police, was in the driveway and Herczog was in the kitchen where his father was found with multiple stab wounds. Deputy Public Defender Karen Silver said this morning two psychiatrists appointed by the court and a private psychiatrist hired by the defense have concluded Herczog suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was insane at the time of the murder. Silver said she wants to go to trial because she expects Herczog will be convicted of the murder but will be found to have been insane at the time it occurred.
Herczog would then be sent to a mental health hospital rather than state prison, Silver said. “To extend this case this long is putting him (Herczog) and others in danger,” Silver said. She said Herczog is suicidal and is in a safety cell at the jail. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dana Simonds set April 5 as a trial date over the objections of Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner who wanted an opinion from a third court-appointed psychiatrist before a trial date was set. Silver said if Waner wants another doctor to review the case, he will have to get a court order for that doctor to conduct an examination of Herczog. She said if Waner had concurred with the findings of the two psychiatrists and agreed to submit their reports to the court, there would be a trial by the judge who likely would find Herczog was insane when he killed his father.
Waner declined to comment after the hearing and would not discuss the opinions of the two court-appointed psychiatrists. Herczog’s mother Marilyn tried to persuade Simons this morning to immediately send her son to a mental health hospital. She held up a photo of her smiling son with his father that was taken before he became ill. “He’s going to die if he stays there. He’s going to commit suicide,” she said regarding her son’s incarceration. “He’s completely broken now. He had another psychotic episode in jail,” Herczog’s mother said.
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