Orange County

Defendant in Orange Mass Shooting Still Under Evaluation for Competency

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday granted prosecutors additional access to medical records of the man charged, because the defendant was injured in a conflict with police.

An Orange County Superior Court judge Friday granted prosecutors additional access to medical records of the man charged with killing four people in a mass shooting in Orange because the defendant was injured in a conflict with police.

Defense attorneys for Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, objected, arguing that any access to some of the records might give prosecutors "a leg up" on any possible mental health defense down the line.

Two experts have been appointed to examine Gonzalez, who sustained a bullet wound to the head in the March 31 shootings and had a portion of his brain removed during surgery. His attorneys have said they are unable to communicate with him to help him in his defense, prompting a legal maneuver that has suspended the criminal proceedings.

A medical doctor, in his role as an expert witness for the defense, submitted a report, but a prosecution expert was seeking more records to aid in a review of the defendant, who is due in court Sept. 3 for a hearing to go over the reports and determine whether he is now mentally competent enough to aid in his defense or communicate with his attorneys on legal strategy.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis told Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham that prosecutors had not asked for any medical records prior to Gonzalez's injury during the mass killing.

Deputy Public Defender Kira Rubin noted that prosecutors wanted access to the records to aid in hiring another expert for future proceedings.

"The request is overly broad," she said. "It will give them an unfair tactical advantage."

Pham said prosecutors were entitled to the evidence of Gonzalez's injuries following the shooting to help determine whether the defendant is mentally competent to continue with legal proceedings. The evidence would be confined to just those proceedings, she added.

If there is a dispute between the two doctors, a third doctor may be appointed to break the tie.

Normally, legal proceedings are suspended for defendants with psychiatric health issues. In this case, it is Gonzalez's brain injury which has apparently left him unable to communicate effectively with his attorneys.

Gonzalez was charged April 2 with multiple murder and attempted murder charges, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have not decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

The charges against Gonzalez include four counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and one count of attempted murder.

Gonzalez also faces a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders and sentence enhancements alleging the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, premeditation, personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, personal use of a firearm and personal discharge of a firearm.

Police say Gonzalez specifically targeted Unified Homes, a real estate company selling manufactured homes, at 202 W. Lincoln Ave., and was acquainted either personally or professionally with all of the victims, who were identified by police as 50-year-old company co-owner Luis Tovar; his daughter, 28-year-old Jenevieve Raygoza; 9-year-old Matthew Farias; and company employee Leticia Solis Guzman, 58.

Raygoza, who worked for her father's company, is survived by her husband and two young children. The 9-year-old boy's mother, Blanca Ismeralda Tamayo, was hospitalized in critical condition, but has since been released from the hospital.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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