A Fresno man who committed a murder five years ago by beating a man to death with a coffee pot and mugs must remain in a state hospital so he can continue to receive treatment for his mental illness, a judge ruled Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court.
Brandon Summerfield, 33, petitioned the court to release him to outpatient services. But Judge Timothy Kams denied Summerfield’s petition, saying he needed to make more progress in controlling his bipolar disorder to ensure he is not a danger to society.
In January 2011, Fresno police arrested Summerfield in the killing of 40-year-old Mark Smedley inside an apartment on the 300 block of South Phillip Avenue, near Clovis and Huntington avenues, in southeast Fresno. Summerfield, who was detained by police without incident, confessed to killing Smedley by beating him in the head with with a coffee pot, three coffee mugs and a piece of furniture.
Court records say Summerfield was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to Atascadero State Hospital for a maximum term of 25 years to life. Under the law, however, he can petition the court to get released from the state hospital if doctors believe he is a suitable candidate for outpatient services.