Opening statements are scheduled today in the trial of a Palm Desert man accused of trying to kill his neighbor.
Barry Keith Hancock is charged with attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon causing injury to a person over 70 and making criminal threats for allegedly attacking Paul Tritschler with a metal pipe on Dec. 3, 2008.
Hancock, 70, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Should he be found guilty of any of the charges at trial, a sanity phase would follow in which a jury would be tasked with determining whether he was sane or insane at the time of the crime, Deputy District Attorney Brad Braaten has said.
The defendant’s insanity plea was entered last June, after Riverside County Superior Court Judge William S. Lebov ruled that Hancock was mentally competent to stand trial.
Hancock attacked Tritschler in the 39400 block of Narcissus Way because he felt the man was “bombarding his residence with noise machines and microwaves,” the prosecution alleges in court documents.
Hancock allegedly approached his neighbor with a loaded revolver in one hand and a Taser in the other, pointing both at the victim. In the ensuing scuffle, both weapons were knocked from Hancock’s hands, but he then allegedly swung a metal pipe he was holding under his arm, opening a large gash in his neighbor’s head.
A judge last year ordered county mental health staff to ensure Hancock was taking psychiatric medication while jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.