Jamie Osuna found incompetent to stand trial in cellmate’s killing

Crime Watch
Californina Inmate Gruesome Slaying_1556323741684
This May 24, 2017, photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Jaime Osuna. Osuna, a convicted killer has been accused of beheading Luis Romero, another in what authorities call a sadistic torture slaying at a California state prison. The Kings County district attorney charged 31-year-old Jaime Osuna with murder in last month’s death of Romero, his Corcoran State Prison cellmate. A prosecutor said Friday, April 26, 2019, that Osuna removed an eye, a finger, and a portion of the victim’s lung. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

HANFORD, Calif. (KGET) — Jamie Osuna, convicted in the 2011 murder of a woman in Bakersfield, was found incompetent Wednesday to stand trial in the grisly killing of his cellmate two years ago.

Kings County Judge Randy Edwards made the finding after listening to testimony from two psychiatrists who determined Osuna did not understand the criminal proceedings against him and could not assist his legal team in the preparation of a defense.

Criminal proceedings are now suspended until Osuna, 32, is restored to competency. Those efforts will begin following a Feb. 10 hearing where it will be determined which California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-run medical facility Osuna will be placed. An order will also be made forcing him to take his medications, even if he refuses.

Osuna showed no reaction to the judge’s ruling. He appeared bored throughout the 90-minute proceedings, most of which he spent slouched in a chair with his eyes closed. Edwards noted Osuna’s unkempt appearance — he said it appeared the defendant’s long, stringy hair hadn’t been washed in some time — and apparent indifference to the severity of the charges he faced.

Both psychiatrists who testified Wednesday said reaching a determination on Osuna’s competency was made more difficult by his refusal to speak with them, but they reviewed hundreds of pages of medical records, including mental health records, turned over by CDCR, as well as a report made in 2019 by another psychiatrist.

Dr. Brandi Mathews said the reports indicated Osuna was experiencing increased paranoia. He refused to take his medications, no longer left his cell and believed people were “setting him up,” she said of the reports.

“There was documentation to support that with the decrease of medications there was an increase in his psychosis,” she said.

Osuna has been diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Kevin Perry, the other psychiatrist who testified, said there was no indication from the records that Osuna was malingering, or feigning his symptoms.

Prosecutors were waiting until after a preliminary hearing to determine whether to seek the death penalty against Osuna, who was charged in 2019 with murder and other crimes in the death of cellmate Luis Romero, 44, at Corcoran State Prison. At the time of Romero’s death, Osuna was serving a sentence of life without parole for the torture and killing of Yvette Pena.

He pleaded guilty in 2017 to first-degree murder and other charges filed in Pena’s killing. Osuna had faced the death penalty if convicted at trial, but Pena’s family, seeking closure, asked a plea deal be offered so they would be spared having to sit through a lengthy trial where autopsy and crime scene photos would be displayed.

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