Louis Berger

An Española man accused of nearly decapitating his mother with a bread knife is not mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. 

Louis M. Berger, 27, was arrested and charged with attempted murder in November.

District Judge Jason Lidyard ordered that Berger be committed to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, N.M., where he will be treated until he is competent to stand trial, a spokeswoman for the Public Defender's Office said.

Berger's mother told The New Mexican in December that her son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and she did not want to see him prosecuted for the attack, which she said occurred after they argued about musical chord progressions.

"Louis needs help," she said.

According to court records, Berger used a serrated bread knife to cut his mother's throat and stabbed her with three different knives while holding her down. He then called 911 and said he tried to kill his mother and asked for police and an ambulance to be sent to his home.

His mother was taken to Presbyterian Española Hospital and then airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital with a laceration on her neck that was about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide.

According to court documents, Berger and his mother moved to Española on Nov. 4. Although he has no criminal history in New Mexico, Berger told Española police he had been in jail for beating up his father.

Berger was arrested in 2012 in Beaver Falls, Pa., on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle, court records show. The aggravated assault charges were reduced to resisting arrest and Berger was placed on one year of probation.

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