DANVILLE - High-profile defense attorney Daniel Horowitz has agreed to represent Andrew Mantas, a 16-year-old Danville boy accused of bludgeoning his mother to death with a metal baseball bat early Monday morning.

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewett said Wednesday that Andrew Mantas would be tried as an adult for the murder of 43-year-old Dimitra Mantas.

Horowitz, who is defending Andrew Mantas at no cost to the family, said today the boy was on a 24-hour suicide watch and that, "He is extremely distraught. His whole world has come crashing down around him.''

Horowitz said that the murder could have been prevented if Andrew Mantas had received the proper psychiatric help.

He also said that Dimitra Mantas knew her son was in a crisis and had taken him to their priest at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension in Oakland because she believed he was possessed by demons, Horowitz said.

"The priest did the right thing. He counseled him spiritually and referred him to mental health,'' Horowitz said.

However, just days before the murder, Andrew Mantas was released from a hospital and sent home. Horowitz said that mental health services had failed the family.

Police found Dimitra Mantas bludgeoned to death in a bedroom in her Danville home in the 3000 block of Swallow Street at 1:22 a.m. Monday after a neighbor called to report a commotion, Danville police Chief Chris Wenzel said.

Police arrested Andrew Mantas at Blackhawk Country Club less than four hours later and booked him into juvenile hall in Martinez on suspicion of murder, Wenzel said.

Horowitz said he did not have any reservations about defending Andrew Mantas even though his case bears some similarities to the murder of Horowitz's wife, 52-year-old Pamela Vitale, in October 2005.

A jury convicted 17-year-old Scott Dyleski in August of bludgeoning Vitale to death in her Lafayette home with what Jewett, who prosecuted the case, said was likely a rock.

"They're complete opposites,'' Horowitz said of the two cases. "There is no comparison between a murder where someone who kills revels in it and glories in it versus someone who is tortured and tried to get help.''

Dyleski was sentenced to life in prison without parole.