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Boy not mentally competent to stand trial in killing, judge rules

August 21, 2012 |  5:57 pm

An 11-year-old boy is not mentally competent to stand trial in the stabbing death of his 12-year-old friend, a San Diego juvenile court judge ruled Tuesday.

Instead the boy should be sent to a residential treatment facility, Judge Cynthia  Bashant said. Yearly hearings could then be done to determine if he has recovered sufficiently to stand trial.

The boy, whose name was not revealed, is accused of stabbing his friend with a kitchen knife during a Jan. 16 argument in the street near the two boys' homes in the El Cajon area east of San Diego.

Two doctors testified that the boy suffers from mental health and development issues stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome. He is not able to fully comprehend the charges or assist in his own defense, they said.

Deputy Public Defender Marian Gaston said the boy "knows his best friend is gone and knows that he is in heaven. He is very remorseful."

If convicted in juvenile court on the murder and assault charges, the boy could have been sentenced to remain incarcerated until age 25. A hearing to decide what residential treatment facility is best for the boy will be held next month.

Although ruling him incompetent to stand trial, Bashant said he remains a danger to the community. The boy, who was 10  when the death occurred, has remained at Juvenile Hall.


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--Tony Perry in San Diego