HOLLIDAYSBURG — Attempted homicide and related charges will be stayed for an Altoona man accused in September 2020 of stabbing his mother nine times before she retired to a bedroom and called 911 for help. aid.
Tavin Phillip McCullough, 25, who has been in Blair County Jail since his arrest on
On September 28, 2020, is scheduled to be transferred to Torrance State Hospital in Westmoreland County for mental health treatment.
The presiding judge, Judge Elizabeth Doyle, signed an order clearing the way for the transfer on Thursday, based on a psychiatric evaluation finding MuCullough incompetent to stand trial.
“He is not capable of understanding criminal proceedings or assisting in his own defence,” Deputy Public Defender Julia Burke said while flipping through a report prepared by Dr. Mustafa Mufti, organized by the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
District Attorney Pete Weeks told Doyle he does not dispute the finding that McCullough is currently incompetent to stand trial. But when jurisdiction is restored, Weeks said McCullough should be returned to Blair County to stand trial.
“This is an extremely serious case,” Weeks said.
McCullough was 23 and described as homeless when Altoona police arrested him at his mother’s house and charged him with attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of the crime.
Officers found him outside the mother’s residence on the 3200 block of Broad Avenue, kneeling on the grass midway between Broad and Beale avenues, with blood on his hands and arms, according to court documents.
When the mother called 911 for help, she told a dispatcher that her son was “stab her to death” and stab her “everywhere.”
Police say she was taken by ambulance to UPMC Altoona with nine stab wounds to her face, stomach and back. At the time of the incident, her injuries required surgery and she was facing further surgery, police said.
In making the order that sends McCullough to Torrance for treatment, the judge indicated that when McCullough’s capacity is restored, it will be up to their offices, within 60 days of notification, to begin the process to determine whether McCullough is criminally responsible for its actions.
The judge included a clause in his order ordering Torrance staff to contact the public defender’s office regarding McCullough’s condition and changes.
In court Thursday, McCullough said nothing during the hearing, but spoke with Burke after it was concluded.
Speaking to police during his arrest, McCullough told officers he received a text from his mother complaining about the way he was living his life, something he had heard growing up.
Police also reported asking McCullough how many times he stabbed his mother and he reportedly responded by saying: “I didn’t count.”
A serrated kitchen knife with a 10-inch blade was found next to the bed in the bedroom where police found the mother. Officers also reported finding a trail of blood on the steps, out the back door, and in an alley leading down 32nd Street to the median where police encountered McCullough.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.