A jury has found a Bay Area rapper incompetent to stand trial in a 2012 fatal shooting in North Vallejo.Derek Ray Pittman, 28, also known as “Baygeen,” was found incompetent Tuesday following a one-week civil trial in Solano Superior Court Judge Allan Carter’s Vallejo courtroom.
A hearing to determine where Pittman is to be treated has been set for Aug. 29. He is in custody at the Solano County jail.Pittman faces a murder charge and a potential life sentence in the Feb. 14, 2012 slaying of 23-year-old Vallejo resident Danell Lashawn Stevens.
Stevens was shot multiple times on Fordham Circle and died at Sutter Solano Medical Center.Pittman turned himself in to police in April 2012, after being named as a suspect in the fatal shooting. He has a history of arrests for drugs, theft and identity theft in Oakland, Modesto, Fairfield and San Jose.Though state law allows attorneys to request a jury trial to decide competency in a criminal case, the proceeding is regarded as uncommon.
Prosecutors sought the civil trial after one court-appointed doctor found Pittman incompetent and other medical examinations were inconclusive.Pittman’s public defender argued the defendant was unable to assist in his defense after two doctors testified that Pittman was suffering from major depression. He had refused to speak to the doctors, but they based their findings on jail records and staff.Prosecutors, however, argued Pittman — who has lost a substantial amount of weight in jail — was rational and had no history of mental illness.
They relied on testimony from the arresting officer as well as a bailiff who reported seeing the defendant talk with his lawyer during a court recess.Prosecutors also presented the jury with two of Pittman’s rap videos and played recordings of jailhouse phone calls he’d made since May 2012.As a result of the unanimous verdict, the murder case against Pittman remains suspended. However, the case could resume if a judge finds him competent following treatment.