The man accused of killing East Palo Alto community activist David Lewis in a Hillsdale Shopping Center parking garage last June might will be examined by two court-appointed doctors to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
Gregory Elarms Sr., 58, a childhood friend of Lewis, is charged with first-degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait for the 2010 shooting of Lewis. If convicted, Elarms could receive the death penalty. He is also charged with being a felon in possession of a gun, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Elarms' defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jeff Boyarsky, asked the court Friday (Feb. 18) to appoint two doctors to evaluate Elarms' competency. Elarms acted out loudly in court that day while a preliminary hearing date was being set.
Boyarsky told Judge Lisa Novak that he had a doubt about his client's competency to stand trial. The court suspended criminal proceedings and continued the case to Feb. 23, when two doctors,Alfred Fricke and George Wilkinson, were appointed. Their reports will be given to the court on April 13.
On the afternoon of June 9, 2010, Elarms allegedly followed Lewis, 54, from the San Mateo Medical Center, where Lewis was a counselor and did HIV testing. Witnesses said Elarms allegedly confronted Lewis and fatally shot him as Lewis walked away.
Elarms was arrested Dec. 20 after he contacted San Mateo police saying he had a tip about who killed Lewis. San Mateo police at one point had run out of leads and offered a $50,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Lewis' killer. Elarms made statements to police during his interview that allegedly implicated him in the killing, police said. He pleaded not guilty to the crimes in January.
Lewis had co-founded Free At Last, an East Palo Alto nonprofit organization that provides services including substance-abuse treatment and transitional housing and became an internationally known figure in parolee and drug rehabilitation, having risen from a life on the streets, prison and drug addiction.