Defendant in 2012 murder found mentally unfit for trial

A man charged with shooting a Berkeley man to death in 2012, and later getting into a shootout with Berkeley Police officers, has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial at this time by a Superior Court judge in Oakland, according to court documents.

Calvester Houston Stewart, 20, of Berkeley was arrested in April 2012 after he reportedly exchanged gunfire with police following a routine traffic stop in West Berkeley. Police said Stewart opened fire on multiple officers after he ran into a Delaware Street apartment building when police tried to stop him. Stewart was shot multiple times during the incident.

The crime scene at Sacramento and Oregon streets where Devin Lee Whitmire was killed in March 2012. Photo: A citizen reporter

In May 2012, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Stewart with five counts of attempted murder of a peace officer. At the same time, he also was charged with murder in the shooting death of Devin Lee Whitmire in late March 2012, and possession of a firearm by a felon. He entered a not guilty plea in July.

Last Friday, Feb. 22, Judge Carrie Panetta ruled that criminal proceedings should be suspended because Stewart is not competent to stand trial. Panetta based her ruling on the reports of two psychiatrists. Stewart remains in custody without bail but was not in attendance, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office.


Panetta said earlier this month that Stewart had declined to speak with the doctors who were ordered to evaluate his competency.

According to several court documents filed since his arrest, Stewart has been “completely unresponsive” or uncooperative with mental health providers. Wrote one therapist in December, “He just said ‘Yah,’ after multiple attempts to engage.” She noted that he did not appear to be a danger to himself or others while in detention. Another document filed that same month described Stewart as “non-responsive; muttering, stares into space; knows his attorney by first name but not as his attorney…” During one evaluation, he reportedly stared at the wall. In another, he sat shivering and mumbling. “Not tracking at all,” wrote the provider.

Also in December, Judge Panetta ruled that Stewart be allowed access to an MP3 player so he can “listen to digital audio recordings related to his case,” according to court documents.

Panetta directed Stewart to be evaluated under the Conditional Release Program for an examination and recommendation for placement, according to court documents. A hearing on the outcome of that evaluation is set for March 15.

According to a document filed by police at the time of his arrest, a witness identified Stewart as having approached 24-year-old Devin Lee Whitmire the night of his death: “The witness observed Calvester Stewart pull out a handgun. As the victim ran, Calvester Stewart chased the victim. Multiple rounds were purposely fired at the victim, killing him.” When police later arrested Stewart, police said they recovered a Ruger handgun in his possession that later was confirmed to be the weapon used in Whitmire’s murder.

According to court documents, Stewart’s “rap sheet” is nine pages long. In 2011, he was convicted of possession of an assault weapon, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office. He received a sentence of probation.

Related:
Psych review delayed for man charged in murder [02.06.13]
Man accused of murder released after witness speaks up [06.09.12]
Man in police shootout charged with Berkeley murder [05.08.12]
Berkeley police identify suspect who was shot [04.23.12]
Berkeley police exchange gunfire with fleeing suspect [04.14.12]
Berkeley victim’s brother fought suspect after the killing [04.04.12]
Reward offered to help find suspects in Berkeley homicide [04.03.12]
Police identify victim and suspect in Thursday slaying [04.01.12]
Sacramento Street shooting victim dies, arrest made [03.30.12]
Shooting on Sacramento and Oregon, victim wounded [03.29.12]

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