General Crime

Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office Requests Psychiatric Exam For Houston Herczog Accused Of Killing Father

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The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office wants another psychiatric exam for a Santa Rosa man charged with the brutal stabbing death of his father. Houston Herczog, 22, has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of his father, Mark Herczog, 63, in their home on Nov. 26, 2011. 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 suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and was insane at the time of the murder. Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner is asking Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dana Simonds to order another psychiatric exam at the prosecution’s expense. Waner said the prosecution is entitled to “a fair opportunity to rebut mental state evidence.” Silver told Simonds this morning Herczog’s mother and other members of his family are convinced Herczog was insane at the time of the murder and they object to any further delays in the case. A trial date is scheduled for April 5, and Silver said she is confident that if a jury convicts Herczog of murder it will decide he was insane at the time of the slaying.

Herczog would then be sent to a mental health institution instead of state prison, Silver said. The judge is scheduled to hold a hearing March 25 on the prosecution’s request for another exam. Santa Rosa police went to the Herczog home on Parkhurst Drive in
Rincon Valley around 1:30 a.m. on the day of the murder. 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. In earlier court proceedings, Herczog was found to be mentally competent to stand trial. “I never felt he was competent,” Silver said, noting Herczog’s sanity at the time of the murder is a separate issue. “He is still paranoid-schizophrenic and delusional and is not being adequately treated in the jail,” Silver said. Herczog’s mother said her son first showed symptoms of his illness after he graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 2009 and suffered a psychotic break while attending Santa Rosa Junior College.

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