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Suspect in Five Fires at Houses of Worship Declared Mentally Incompetent

LOS ANGLES -- A man charged with arson, terrorism and hate crimes in connection with fires at five houses of worship was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, putting his criminal case on indefinite hold.

Judge Fred J. Fujioka on Friday ordered Farshid Tehrani, a 40-year-old Jewish Iranian immigrant, to be sent to Patton State Hospital for treatment and psychiatric evaluations.

Tehrani's attorney, Lazier Gould, told a judge in July that his client had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Millington said Friday he hoped Tehrani would eventually be able to stand trial.

The fires Tehrani is accused of setting were at houses of worship representing various faiths in the Encino area. No one was injured in the fires, all in April and May. The fires damaged two synagogues, a Presbyterian church, a Bahai Faith center and a Jewish education center.

Gould said Friday he was pleased that Tehrani would receive treatment, but he said he was frustrated that a long waiting list at the hospital could prevent Tehrani from being sent there for at least a few more months.

©Copyright 2003, KABC-TV 7, (Los Angles, CA, USA)

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