Doctors testified in a long-running attempted murder case to determine whether a Benton County man is competent to stand trial.
Lucio Reyes Perez, 67, allegedly shot another man in June 2015 outside a Whitstran store. Prosecutors claim Reyes Perez waited outside McCorkle's Market on Rothrock Road until he saw 34-year-old Guillermo Salaz-Lozano arrive. He allegedly knew it was the victim's routine to stop by the store every day about 5:30 a.m.
Reyes Perez yelled at the victim outside the market, called him a derogatory term and fired two shots at him, according to court documents. Salaz-Lozano was hit in the neck by one bullet.
Witnesses identified Reyes Perez, and he was found at a nearby home.
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Police claim Reyes Perez thought the victim stole his identity.
A judge ordered a competency evaluation after claims the defendent was struggling with hallucinations, psychosis and a learning disability.
Experts disagreed on whether Reyes Perez is competent to be tried for attempted first-degree murder. A judge will determine if he can stand trial.
At Friday’s hearing in Benton County Superior Court, they talked about whether he avoided treatment by mental health counselors.
An evaluation from psychologist Dr. Dan Lord-Flynn in August 2015 diagnosed Reyes Perez with suffering from being in an “unspecified schizophrenia spectrum or other psychotic order.”
Benton County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner found Reyes Perez incompetent to stand trial. He ruled to put the trial on hold and wait for Reyes Perez to undergo 90 days of competency recovery treatment at Eastern State Hospital starting in December 2015.
Reyes Perez allegedly thought his defense attorney was part of a conspiracy “against him,” Lord-Flynn said at the witness stand.
The defendant reportedly told the psychologist he thought the victim stole his immigration status card and paperwork. Lord-Flynn wrote Reyes Perez thought they were being distributed, and he had several conflicts with the victim and his wife prior to the shooting.
The psychologist said Reyes Perez responded to most of the questions in an interview with “I don’t know.”
“When often answering questions, things seemed confusing or unclear,” Lord-Flynn said.
Psychologist Dr. Cedar O’Donnell evaluated Reyes Perez and said she believed he was competent to go to trial.
The defense ordered another evaluation with psychologist Dr. Anthony Eusanio 15 days after Reyes Perez was released from his 90-day treatment.
Eusanio’s reports states Reyes Perez could have been overwhelmed since some competency restoration classes had no interpreter, and he could suffer from a developmental disability contributing to his lack of understanding.
“It is easy to write this off as feigning incompetence unless you look at the examinee’s whole pattern across time and situations,” Eusanio stated in his report.
Lord-Flynn disagreed with Eusanio’s claim of a developmental disability, saying that Reyes Perez managed his own life, cooked for himself and did his own shopping. He believes his lack of employment was because of his bad knees causing him to use a wheelchair.
“There’s no indication that he was completely sheltered by his family,” Lord-Flynn said.
Another evaluation by psychologist Dr. Lisa VanDerley on July 21, 2016. Like Lord-Flynn, she diagnosed Reyes Perez with suffering in an unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, as well as alcohol use disorder.
She ruled out any developmental disorders and stated he is competent to stand trial.
She said O’Donnell’s report indicated Reyes Perez was prescribed with medication to help him into remission, though hospital staff stated he rarely participated in competency restoration classes.
“It was noted that he appeared to have the ability to (participate), but chose not to,” O’Donnell stated in her report.
In court Friday, VanDerley agreed Reyes Perez had problems participating in her evaluation. She mentioned he was handcuffed during the tests sand it could have been a factor.
“Most of his responses were ‘I don’t know,’” VanDerley said.
Reyes Perez was handcuffed during a cognitive assessment test, which may have contributed to his being unable to answer questions properly. VanDerley concluded Reyes Perez demonstrated poor insight into his mental health and his situation. She stated she saw no signs of psychosis, and said Reyes Perez denied having any sort of hallucinations.
Because she admitted to having little information, the defense questioned if it’s enough to claim that he’s competent enough for trial.
She noted some of Reyes Perez’s jail pastimes, which include reading the bible and other books in Spanish. She said he uses crutches to walk.
“He’s not relying on anybody else to help him out,” VanDerley said.
A judge is ruling on whether Reyes Perez can return to court to stand trial.