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Psychologist Joseph W. Liebergall testified in Niagara County Court on Tuesday that alleged stalker Michael G. Taylor is mentally competent to stand trial.

Taylor, 47, of Akron Road, pleaded "not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect" to charges that he violated a court order by writing letters to a local waitress last summer.

He is now seeking to withdraw his plea after finding out that it could result in spending the rest of his life in a mental institution.

Liebergall, Erie County director of forensic mental health services, said he interviewed Taylor on March 25. "It was my opinion he was competent to proceed," Liebergall said. Though he thinks Taylor is clearly mentally ill, Liebergall said, the defendant does not agree.

Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer has said he thinks that Taylor probably will be convicted if he goes to trial. The competency hearing will continue May 25.

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