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Trial opens for Santa Rosa man accused of killing dad

A 22-year-old Santa Rosa man stabbed his father dozens of times in the face, neck and torso before lofting a guitar amplifier over him and slamming it down on his head, a prosecutor said Monday.

Houston Herczog killed Mark Herczog, 63, in the 2011 attack in the kitchen of their Rincon Valley home, prosecutor Bob Waner told jurors at the opening of Herczog's trial.

The slaying was witnessed in part by Herczog's 17-year-old sister, Savannah, who was awakened by her father's "death cries" and saw her brother holding a knife, Waner said.

Officers responding to her frantic 911 call arrived in time to find Herczog emerging from the kitchen, his hands covered in blood, an officer said.

Herczog admitted the slaying, lay down on the floor and surrendered, Santa Rosa police Officer Brandon Matthies testified.

"He said, 'I killed him,' " said Matthies, who watched Herczog from the front door of the Parkhurst Drive house.

The details came in the first day of trial for the 2009 Santa Rosa High School graduate charged with murdering his father.

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Karen Silver, maintains the killing happened during a psychotic break.

Family members report Herczog was suffering mental health issues in the period leading up to the attack. Three doctors, including two appointed by the court, diagnosed him with schizophrenia.

A fourth doctor hired by the District Attorney's Office contends Herczog was in a drug-induced psychosis from taking Adderall, a stimulant prescribed to his mother.


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