LA judge won't release man, 86, accused in killing

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge on Wednesday refused to order the release of an 86-year-old blind man suffering from dementia who was charged with killing an apartment handyman four years ago, overruling a probate court decision that said Nattie Kennebrew should be released to his son's custody.

Judge Norman Shapiro asked Los Angeles County mental health officials to return in a month with alternative plans for supervising Kennebrew, who uses a wheelchair in addition to his other disabilities.

In 2009, Kennebrew was ordered to stand trial for the shooting death of handyman Gerardo Ramos, who was fixing his sink. But Kennebrew's attorney successfully argued his client wasn't competent to stand trial. Kennebrew has since been held in state mental facilities.

Prosecutors have tried to have Kennebrew put under public guardianship, which would keep him in a state mental facility. But those efforts have failed, and Shapiro said he lacked the authority to give Kennebrew that status.

The judge also refused to dismiss the criminal case against Kennebrew, which means Kennebrew can still be tried if he's found competent in the future, district attorney's spokeswoman Jean Guccione said.

Kennebrew, who believed Ramos was trying to steal his Veterans Administration benefits, shot the handyman multiple times, then tried to shoot his apartment manager, police and prosecutors said.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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