Mental competency evaluation ordered for man accused of killing mother, sister

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man accused of fatally stabbing his detective mother and 18-year-old sister in their Rancho Penasquitos home will undergo an evaluation to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Brian Rockwell Williams, 24, is charged with two counts of murder in the July 18 deaths of Donna Williams, a veteran San Diego police child abuse detective, and Briana Williams, who recently graduated from Mount Carmel High School and had planned to attend a San Francisco design college this fall.

Defense attorney Richard Gates told Judge David Szumowski that he doubted his client's ability to understand the charges against him and assist in his own defense.

The judge suspended criminal proceedings and scheduled a mental competency hearing for Sept. 16.

At Williams' arraignment last Wednesday, Gates told reporters that the defendant had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but was not undergoing treatment at the time of the murders.

Late last month, officers went to the Williams family home on a call of a disturbance involving the son, according to police.

About 1:15 a.m. on July 18, Rancho Penasquitos residents were awakened by the sounds of a woman screaming. They looked outside to see Briana Williams struggling with her 6-foot, 300-pound brother on the balcony of their home on Paseo Montril, outside her bedroom window, prosecutor Kristen Spieler said.

At one point, Briana was seen hanging from the balcony by her hands, and eventually dropped to the pavement below, according to Spieler, who said the defendant was seen calmly walking back into the home.

Within minutes, police arrived and found the defendant in the front yard, standing a few feet from where his sister lay dying, the prosecutor said. Near her body was a bloody knife, Spieler said.

When officers made entry into the home, they found the body of Donna Williams face-down in Briana's bedroom, the prosecutor said.

Both of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant's sister suffered multiple slashes to her throat and about 20 stab wounds to the chest, according to Spieler. Her mother was stabbed at least twice in the stomach and had a severe gash to her throat, the prosecutor said.

Brian Williams faces 52 years to life in prison if convicted.

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