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Murder suspect accused of eating body parts says he was fighting a ‘shape-shifter’

Updated May 2, 2024 - 9:40 am

The public defender for a murder suspect accused of eating another man’s eyeball wants his client to undergo a mental health evaluation.

“I’ve spoken to him, and I’ve determined that he is incompetent,” Chief Deputy Public Defender David Westbrook said during a brief court hearing Wednesday morning.

Colin Czech, 29, was arrested Sunday morning after a gas station employee reported “a problem at the bus stop,” where one man appeared to be “eating the face” of another man lying on the ground near Las Vegas Boulevard South and Charleston Boulevard, according to Czech’s arrest report. Czech later told police he “used his teeth” to eat the man’s “eyeballs and ears.”

Police said Czech, who faces one count of murder, had expressed paranoia and told detectives he’d been awake for “five days straight.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, Westbrook told Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini that he intends to request a mental health evaluation for Czech, asking state psychologists to determine if he is competent to face charges. If Czech is deemed incompetent, then he will receive treatment at a state psychiatric hospital until a judge determines his competency has been restored.

Westbrook said he did not have further details of the allegations against Czech beyond an arrest report. He declined to say if Czech has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

“We will get to the bottom of all the factual allegations; that is a process,” Westbrook said. “But before we get there, we have to go into the competency proceedings.”

Police received two 911 calls within 45 minutes on Sunday morning, from employees at convenience stores near the intersection.

One person reported that a man had tackled and punched a customer in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, at 1100 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The caller also reported that the man was banging his head on the concrete, and “appeared paranoid” while screaming and yelling in front of the business.

Just after 5:30 a.m., an employee at a nearby AM/PM store at 333 E. Charleston Blvd. called 911 to report seeing a man on top of another man “eating the face” of the victim, police said.

The victim’s name had not been released as of Wednesday.

When police arrived at the scene, officers found one man “unresponsive and bleeding from the head,” according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Czech was taken to University Medical Center because he was going “in and out of consciousness,” police said.

At the hospital, Czech told police that he was homeless and that had been in a fight with a “shape-shifter,” according to the report. Czech also told police that he was “tweaking” and that “he was hearing voices in his head,” according to the report.

Asked how he hurt the victim, Czech responded: “my teeth,” the report said

He told detectives that he ate the victims “eyeballs and ears,” the report said.

Investigators found the victim with an injury to the back of his head, with a “large laceration to the right side of his head,” and missing his left eye and left ear.

Czech did not speak during his court appearance on Wednesday. He remains in the Clark County Detention Center without bail, jail records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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