The 22-year-old man who was arrested in connection with three stabbings in Davis last spring, two of them fatal, who has been in mental health treatment since shortly after his arrest, has been deemed mentally competent to stand trial.
Carlos Reales Dominguez has been "certified competent," according to state hospital officials in Atascadero. The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office made the announcement Thursday, a little over a week after a judge had ordered Reales Dominguez to remain hospitalized another five months to restore his competency.
As the David Enterprise explains, the judge's ruling on December 20 was based on a November 7 competency report that had reached the judge only after seven weeks. A subsequent report from December 20 said that Reales Dominguez's competency had been restored in those seven weeks, and he was now fit for trial.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Melinda Aiello tells the Enterprise that, under state law, "at any point the doctors can find [a suspect] competent."
Attorneys for Reales Dominguez have not yet commented on the competency ruling, and as the Sacramento Bee reports, a hearing has now been scheduled for January 5. If the suspect's competency is not challenged, then criminal proceedings will proceed.
Reales Dominguez's mental state had possibly been in decline for two years when he allegedly stabbed three individuals in the span of a week in late April and early May. An Oakland native and a biological sciences major at UC Davis until a week before the stabbings, Reales Dominguez was in a severe enough mental state following his May 3 arrest that public defender Dan Hutchinson declared his doubts about his competency.
Hutchinson said that schizophrenia was to blame for his client's behavior, and his crimes.
The prosecution insisted that the competency question go to a jury, which it did in late July. At that hearing, a former girlfriend said that Reales Dominguez had told her the "devil was talking to him in his dreams."
In all of his court appearances, Reales Dominguez has had long hair that hangs over his face and a disheveled appearance.
Reales Dominguez stands accused of fatally stabbing 50-year-old David Breaux, a beloved and mostly unhoused local eccentric; and 20-year-old Karim Abou Najm, a fellow UC Davis student. Days later, a homeless woman, 64-year-old Kimberlee Guillory, was stabbed through her tent, and she survived.