PASCO — A Pasco man charged with fatally stabbing his former girlfriend is too dangerous to be evaluated at a state psychiatric hospital, hospital officials contend.
Gregorio Luna Luna, 31, was supposed to be sent to Eastern State Hospital for a competency evaluation because his defense attorneys expressed concerns about his mental health.
But Judge Robert Swisher was told Wednesday that officials at Eastern requested Luna Luna be evaluated in the Franklin County jail because of safety concerns.
"They're concerned about weapons he's been creating," said Anita Petra, a Benton County deputy prosecutor who is trying the case with former Franklin County Prosecutor Steve Lowe.
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Petra showed a picture to Swisher that showed how Luna Luna reportedly made a weapon by taking part of a mirror and wrapping it in a sheet.
She said Luna Luna also has shown some behavior of trying to escape and provided a picture of holes that he had dug inside the jail.
But defense attorney Karla Kane said that an order signed earlier this month said Luna Luna would be transferred to Eastern State Hospital for the evaluation, and the defense would like that order enforced.
She said it was "incredibly unbelievable to some degree" that a hospital geared to treating dangerous and insane criminals could not safely evaluate Luna Luna at its facility.
The safety concerns were relayed to prosecutors in a letter by Connie Wilmot, Eastern State's chief executive officer. She said the hospital is an "open ward concept," which means there are no locked cells on the ward and it is designed to be dormitory style.
"There are vulnerable patients on this ward, including females," Wilmot wrote.
She requested that doctors be allowed to evaluate Luna Luna while he's in jail because of his murder charge "and his life of dangerousness, supported by Franklin County jail staff concerns regarding the safety of transporting him to the hospital ... "
Swisher scheduled another hearing next week in Franklin County Superior Court to hear more from hospital officials about their concerns.
He told both sides to also provide arguments about what discretion he has under the law.
Luna Luna is charged with first-degree murder for stabbing to death 21-year-old Griselda Ocampo Mesa in her Pasco apartment May 24.
The charge includes several aggravating factors, which would allow a judge to hand down a life sentence if Luna Luna is convicted.
Prosecutors allege the crime occurred within the sight and sound of the victim's child, that there was deliberate cruelty to the victim, there was an ongoing pattern of domestic violence, he manifested deliberate cruelty or intimidation and that it was an invasion of the victim's privacy.
Ocampo Mesa, who had a 5-year-old son with Luna Luna, reportedly ended a seven-year relationship she had with Luna Luna in early 2010.
She received a protection order against him in early March after telling the court he had threatened to kill her or make her life miserable.
The slaying came less than a month after he was deported to Mexico.
Paula Horton: 582-1556; email@example.com