SAN DIEGO – A 56-year-old man accused of beating a younger man over the head with a crowbar while trying to steal money from him and his girlfriend in Valencia Park is not mentally competent to stand trial and will be sent to a state hospital for treatment, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Clare Lyle Neighbour faces life in prison plus seven years if convicted of premeditated attempted murder, aggravated mayhem and attempted robbery.
After reviewing two medical reports, Judge Joseph Brannigan ruled that Neighbour did not understand the charges against him and could not assist his attorney at trial.
The judge ordered that Neighbour be sent to Patton State Hospital for up to three years.
Neighbor was arrested Feb. 25 in Huntington Beach in the attack two days earlier on Carlos Ramirez at the Express Gas Station on Imperial Avenue, according to San Diego police Sgt. Louis Valenzuela. Ramirez was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Moon said the 25-year-old victim and his girlfriend pulled into the station about 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, about the same time as the defendant. He said Neighbour asked the victim for money and the victim declined and went to pay for his own gas.
Neighbour got a crowbar out of the trunk of his car and threatened the victim’s girlfriend, then struck Ramirez in the neck as he approached, sending the victim to the ground, Moon alleged. He alleged the defendant continued to hit the victim in the head with the crowbar, striking him at least 25 times.
Moon said Neighbour — a former resident of Washington state – appeared to be living out of his truck at the time of the attack.