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Man accused in toddler daughter’s death not fit to stand trial ‘in foreseeable future’


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    NEW ORLEANS (WDSU) — A Bywater man who admitted to killing his toddler daughter will not stand trial for the first-degree murder charge he faces.

Mark Hambrick, 49, was ruled “irrestorably incompetent,” meaning he is not and will not be mentally fit to stand trial now or in the “foreseeable future.”

Several doctors have testified Hambrick’s delusions have remained unchanged since he told a 911 dispatcher and police that he killed 18-month-old Amina at God’s direction. He did so, he told authorities and doctors who examined him, so the state would execute him, allowing for him to be resurrected.

Orleans Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman issued the ruling Monday morning in a virtual hearing. She did so after the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office, represented by a new prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Andre Gaudin, withdrew all objections to a court-appointed sanity commission’s findings that she rule that way. A state doctor who is treating Hambrick at a mental health facility in Jackson, Louisiana, also recommended the judge rule him irrestorably incompetent.

Police say Hambrick stabbed and strangled the girl Oct. 17, 2017, at their Bywater home, then called 911 and confessed while he waited for police to arrive.

Dr. Janet Johnson, appointed to the sanity commission by Pittman, testified in November that Hambrick initially thought he would be executed in 2019, the 400th anniversary of the first slave ships arriving in America. When Johnson pointed out it was 2020, she said, he told her “our time” is different than “God’s time,” showing her his tendency to rationalize facts to fit his delusions.

Johnson testified then that Hambrick, who has a master’s degree and worked as a longtime supervisor for the Sewerage and Water Board, “believes he is Jesus Christ,” and told her he continues to receive messages from God.

“He admits he knows it sounds crazy to other people,” said Johnson, but added he is “firm” in the belief.

District Attorney Jason Williams’s office last month formally stated the agency was not seeking the death penalty in Hambrick’s case. Williams’ predecessor, Leon Cannizzaro, had not stated a decision on the matter, either way.

Typically, when a defendants are ruled irrestorably incompetent, they are civilly committed, a process Hambrick’s lawyer Kerry Cuccia said should proceed. Pittman said any rulings to clarify what happens next with Hambrick will happen at a later date.

Hambrick listened in on the ruling from a small room at the mental health facility. Wearing a surgical mask, he spoke only when telling the judge he could hear her, after she asked. After the hearing ended, he waved a hand to the screen. Two of his brothers and at least two other relatives had signed on to observe the hearing over Zoom.

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