Edward Thomas Mann, a former IBM employe accused of killing three people and assaulting 23 others during a shooting spree at IBM offices in Bethesda last May, has been found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Eight psychologists and psychiatrists at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup have concluded that Mann is capable of assisting his attorney, R. Kenneth Mundy, in his defense, and that he understands the "criminality" of the charges against him.

The doctors also said that Mann suffers from paranoia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions, especially of persecution, in a person with an otherwise normal personality.

Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew Sonner has notified court officials that the government will seek the death penalty in Mann's case, set for trial on Dec. 6.

Mann, 38, of Mitchellville, was indicted June 7 by a Montgomery County grand jury on three counts of murder, 23 counts of attempted murder, 23 counts of assault with intent to murder and 26 counts of use of a handgun in a crime of violence.

Mann was arrested after a 7 1/2-hour seige last May 28 that began when he rammed his 1977 Lincoln Continental through the glass doors at the IBM building off Democracy Boulevard, near Montgomery Mall.

According to police, Mann fired about 150 shots before he was taken into custody.

Mann subsequently retained Mundy, one of the area's best-known criminal lawyers. Mundy notified the court in June that his client would plead innocent by reason of insanity, and the defendant was sent by Judge Irma S. Raker to Perkins for a mental evaluation.

Last week, Mann's wife, Rosa, told a reporter that her husband, who is being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center, is no longer happy with Mundy's services. She said she would write a letter to Mundy notifying him of Mann's plans to hire a new attorney.

Mundy is out of the country, and could not be reached for comment.

Lt. Jeffrey Paskow, assistant chief of custody and security at the detention center, said Mann has told some people that he is on a hunger strike because he has not been permitted to hold a press conference inside the jail.

"We haven't seen any physical indications of a hunger strike yet," Paskow said. "He's still taking his food trays and sending them back empty. We can't say for sure what's happening to the food."

In their report, submitted Aug. 13, the doctors said that Mann showed no signs of brain disease or memory impairment.

The report also noted that Mann has an I. Q. of 122, considered well above average. graphics /photo: Edward Thomas Mann in custody three months ago.