More time needed to review mental health records of convicted murderer Jaime Osuna, next hearing set for September

Crime Watch
Osuna 2017 mugshot

Osuna has managed to tattoo almost his entire face while behind bars.

HANFORD, Calif. (KGET) — Doctors who have been asked to render an opinion as to whether convicted murderer Jaime Osuna is competent to stand trial in the grisly death of his cellmate need more time to go over his mental health records, Osuna’s attorney said Monday.

Melina S. Benninghoff told a Kings County judge that one of the psychiatrists appointed to the case did not receive Osuna’s most recent files until recently and needs more time due to the sheer volume of the documents. That psychiatrist also requested a subpoena from the Kings County District Attorney’s office, which Benninghoff confirmed has been sent.

The psychiatrists are expected to have completed their reviews and submitted their opinions by Osuna’s next hearing, set for Sept. 10. Osuna has refused to the speak with them.

In determining competency,  a judge weighs evidence, including the testimony of doctors, and determines whether a defendant understands the criminal proceedings against them and can assist in the preparation of a defense. If Osuna is found competent, criminal proceedings will be reinstated against him. He’s charged with murder and other crimes in the March 2019 slaying of his cellmate, Luis Romero, 44, and it’s alleged he decapitated the other man in addition to inflicting numerous other injuries.

Osuna attended Monday afternoon’s hearing through video from Corcoran State Prison. Dressed in a red jumpsuit and wearing a white face mask, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, Osuna told Benninghoff he hadn’t received the discovery files from his cases. Benninghoff told him she sent him about a dozen boxes filled with documents, and they were probably sitting in the prison’s mail room.

At the time of Romero’s death, Osuna was serving a sentence of life without parole for the torture and murder of Yvette Pena in Bakersfield in 2011.

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