The man accused of gunning down a Newman police officer during a traffic stop will undergo a psychiatric evaluation after his lawyer stated he was too incompetent to stand trial.
Paulo Virgen Mendoza, who also went by the name Gustavo Perez Arriaga, is facing a charge of murder with the special circumstance of killing a peace officer. The charges also have the enhancements that Mendoza acted with intention and used a firearm.
Mendoza is accused of killing Newman Police Department Cpl. Ronil Singh during a traffic stop around 1 a.m. Dec. 26. Singh had stopped Mendoza on suspicion of drunk driving, for which Mendoza has two other arrests. Mendoza also is in the country illegally, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
Mendoza was taken into custody in Lamont, a small town outside of Bakersfield on Dec. 28. Wednesday was his first appearance in Stanislaus County Superior Court. It was scheduled to be an arraignment hearing, but Mendoza’s attorney, Stephen Foley, said his client was too incompetent to stand trial.
The law required the criminal proceedings against Mendoza be suspended, said Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Deputy District Attorney John Goold.
A psychiatrist was appointed to examine Mendoza and submit a report to the court on whether or not he is legally competent to stand trial.
Mendoza did not enter a plea to the charges and no bail was set. He remains in custody at Stanislaus County Jail.
Along with Mendoza, law enforcement has arrested seven other individuals in connection with the case on allegations they acted as accessories to the felony after the fact.
Erik Razo Quiroz, Ana Leydy Cervantes, Adrian Virgen, and Conrado Virgen Mendoza were all taken into custody by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. They have entered not guilty pleas to the charges against them. All four remain in custody in the Stanislaus County Jail.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Department took Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda, Erasmo Villegas and Maria Luisa Moreno into custody on Dec. 28. The Bakersfield Californian newspaper reported the three defendants have entered not guilty pleas to the charges against.
All the defendants in Stanislaus County are scheduled for another court hearing on Feb. 7. The report on Mendoza’s competency is expected to be presented on that day.