Man accused of threatening Peninsula politicians, attorneys found not competent 

A San Bruno man accused of threatening to kill public officials and attorneys in dozens of raging phone messages was deemed not competent to stand trial Monday.

Last month, criminal proceedings against 64-year-old John Costa were postponed so doctors could evaluate his mental state, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Even before a judge Monday deemed Costa mentally unfit for trial, Wagstaffe said the “paranoid” man’s threats were driven by mental illness.

Costa had “manufactured in his mind” that city officials in San Bruno were trying to cause him harm, Wagstaffe said. Costa allegedly made the alarming threats last fall.

In one of a series of alarming incidents between September and December, Costa phoned threats in to the San Bruno City Clerk’s Office warning that he would kill city council members and police who tried to enter his home, authorities said.

Costa also left several messages at St. Dunstan Church in Millbrae claiming a priest there had killed his mother and another parishioner, authorities said.

Costa allegedly threatened attorneys as well. He left up to 60 phone messages in one weekend to Millbrae Attorney George Corey. He stated Corey was in cahoots with President Barack Obama and the Secret Service and that the attorney “needed to be executed,” Wagstaffe said.

When Corey wouldn’t represent him, Costa then turned to attorneys Al and Ann Martin. He repeatedly called them, telling them they’d better take him on as a client or else, Wagstaffe said.

A search of Costa’s home showed no credible evidence that Costa had planned to carry out his threats, authorities said.

Costa remains in custody. The court was scheduled to determine his treatment plan on April 25, Wagstaffe said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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