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Court to weigh future of disabled man who accidentally killed dad

A 44-year-old disabled man who accidentally killed his father at home in Westminster faces court proceedings to determine his future.

Anand Dalal, who has Down syndrome and the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, was charged Tuesday with battery resulting in serious injury. But not even prosecutors want Dalal to go to jail despite the seriousness of what happened.

On Dec. 3, he shoved his frail, 82-year-old father, who fell, hit his head on a hardwood floor, then lapsed into a coma and died a day later. Anand lashed out after his father had tried to get him to take his medicine at the family’s home in Westminster, prosecutors said.

Dileep Manubhai Dalal and his wife Indira, 76, have cared for Anand since his birth. They also have another grown son. Dileep had a stroke about two years ago and was unsteady on his feet, family members told police.

Even before the fatal incident, the parents were beginning to have difficulty caring for their adult son.

Relatives told police that Anand had become increasingly moody on weekends and holidays when he lacked the diversion of working at a volunteer program in Tustin. He had also pushed his father in the past and had struck his mother when he disliked the food she prepared.

When paramedics arrived to aid his father, Anand threw objects both randomly and at firefighters. He also slapped someone in the hospital waiting room. At the same time, he cried out, over and over again, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry ... I like my Dad ... I miss my Dad ... I want my Dad.”

Authorities kept him hospitalized on a mental observation hold until moving him last week to a group home in Garden Grove, where Anand has reportedly done well.

People from the group home accompanied Anand to court Tuesday to offer support.

"He was very quiet," said Deputy Dist. Atty, Susan Price, who normally pursues homicide convictions.

In this instance, Price's goal was to set in motion a process to find the best placement for Anand, who can no longer remain at home.

"The only reason we filed the case was to get the court process started," Price said. Ultimately, experts will evaluate whether Anand belongs in a state facility or a group home.

"Our hope is to find a facility that is appropriate for him and allows him to live a good, full life," Price said. The safety of others also must be weighed. When Anand feels frustrated, he "may lash out with violence" because of poor impulse control, she said.

"This is a terribly sad case, but it's also the type of situation that causes everyone to come together for a greater good," Price said.

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-- Howard Blume

 
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