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DSA In the News

Murder defendant returned for trail

Published on 3/17/2011

The Millbrae man hospitalized as incompetent before standing trial for allegedly shooting his friend in 2008 and leaving the man’s body inside a car parked on a residential Burlingame street is now fit to aid in his own defense against murder charges, according to state hospital doctors.

The finding returned Teyseer Zaid “Terry” Najdawi, 27, to San Mateo County for prosecution in the death of Jack Chu, 27, who was discovered days after his death not far from the Burlingame home of the defendant’s mother. Najdawi was indicted before he was found incompetent, meaning he heads straight to trial without a preliminary hearing unless a San Mateo County Superior Court judge disagrees with the hospital doctors’ conclusions.

On Wednesday, Najdawi appeared in court for the first time since his return and was ordered back April 1 for further proceedings, said prosecutor Al Giannini.

Those proceedings could be a defense request for further evaluation of the competency claim or, as Giannini hopes, the setting of a jury trial date. Defense attorney Jonathan McDougall said he is not sure if he will fight the competency decision because he has yet to evaluate the report. Najdawi, meanwhile, remains in custody without bail.

Najdawi is charged with nine felonies including charges of murder, the use of a firearm and illegal firearm possession in Chu’s July 10, 2008 death and attempted murder for allegedly attacking his cellmate at the Maguire Correctional Facility. Prosecutors also tacked on four felony counts of fraud stemming from Najdawi allegedly stealing his brother’s credit card for use the night of the murder and while evading police afterward.

Najdawi is accused of killing Chu after a night of drinking together although the motive remains murky. Chu’s body was found slumped in a car at the intersection of Chula Vista and Sanchez avenues and connected to an early-morning shooting reported July 8 in Millbrae.

Chu reportedly had been in the driver’s seat when shot nearly a dozen times in the head. Authorities assume the shooter pushed Chu’s body aside and drove the car away. On July 10, police seized bloody clothing from the home of Najdawi’s mother and, a week later, apprehended Najdawi at a Redding motel.

On Sept. 14, while in custody at Maguire Correctional Facility, Najdawi’s case grew after sheriff’s deputies reported found him beating and strangling his cellmate.

On May 15, a judge found Najdawi incompetent based on the reports of four court-appointed doctors and that June a criminal grand jury indicted him.