PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The attorney for the man charged with stabbing and killing his grandmother earlier this year is raising questions about how the mental health system handled the case.
Levi Staver, 26, is charged in the fatal stabbing of his grandmother, 76-year-old Constance Johnston, last February at their home on Gibsonia Road in Richland Township.
“This family faced a terrible tragedy,” said Paul Iannetti, Staver’s attorney. “In just a second they lost a wife, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, and a son, grandson and brother.”
According to criminal complaints, Staver told police that an “arch angel told him to kill the witch.”
Police also say that Staver made the sign of a cross, got dressed like a soldier and used a black bowie knife to kill Johnston.
Staver waived his right to a preliminary hearing early Friday morning.
Police say Staver told them he had been in his words “stuck” living with his mother and grandparents.
Iannetti claims Staver’s family tried to commit him into the mental health system but was unsuccessful at doing so.
“On more than one occasion, the family attempted to commit Levi civilly through the 302 process, each time to be told he was not a danger to himself or others. We’re watching on a national level this sort of thing play out, and it really is a shame,” Iannetti says.
According to Iannetti, Staver is being treated for schizophrenia and autism.
Staver will remain in the Allegheny County Jail until he faces more mental health evaluations.