Mental competency trial underway for man accused of stalking, killing daughter and mother

EL PASO, Texas - A jury will determine if a man accused of fatally stabbing a jogger, whom he didn't know, and her mother, is mentally competent to stand trial.

Christian Martinez is accused of stalking 20-year-old Jovana Flores as she jogged in January 2011. He  then allegedly followed her to her East El Paso home and stabbed her and her mother Amelia, 58, to death. 

Martinez's attorney, Joe Spencer  says he's mentally challenged but prosecutors disagree.

The defense called to the stand a neuropsychologist who tested Martinez and determined he is of below average intelligence.

Dr. Noah Kaufman testified that Martinez scored lower on an IQ test than about 98 percent of people his age, and that his brain, "does not work so well." Kaufman was hried by the court to determine Martinez's competency.

Dr. David Briones, a psychiatrist and professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, testified Martinez is psychotic and sufferes from hallucinations and hears voices. Briones also said Martinez has a memory impairment, which prevents him from rationally processing information.

The psychiatrist said Martinez would be unable to confer essential details of the case with his lawyers because he can't fully discuss or recall events, facts and states of minds to the level required by the law."

Briones was hired by the court to evaluate weather Martinez is competent for trial.

Kaufman said many mentally retarded children wen through school undiagnosed. He added Martinez may be able to perform basic, non-complex duties but would not be able to compete in a professional workplace. 

The state pointed out that four out of five doctors who have reviewed Martinez have deemed him competent for trial and they say Martinez may have purposely scored low on his IQ test.  Briones said one of the doctors  had since changed his mind.

The state also pointed out there are dozens of other tests that were not administered to Martinez.

Briones also said Martinez is constantly suicidal and described how he tried to kill himself soon after the alleged killings. "He tried to sever major vessels in his arm... and even muscles ... He thought he was bleeding to death... It took three surgeries to save him."

The competency trial resumes at Tuesday at 9 A.M. at the 210th District Court at the El Paso County Courthouse.


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