Former UC Davis Student Accused of Fatal Stabbings Faces Competency Hearing Amid Mental Health Concerns

Carlos Dominguez’s mental fitness for trial is under scrutiny after he allegedly stabbed two people to death and attempted to kill another near UC Davis.

San Francisco, California  – The competency of Carlos Dominguez, a former UC Davis student charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of two individuals and the attempted murder of a third, was brought into question during a court proceeding on Tuesday.

His defense attorney, Dan Hutchinson, revealed that Dominguez has not showered or eaten in nearly three months while maintaining the belief that he will return to his college classes. The proceedings aim to determine if he is mentally fit to participate in a criminal trial related to the gruesome stabbings that shook the University of California, Davis, campus and its surrounding community.

Dominguez’s defense team plans to present evidence showing that he began displaying outward signs of schizophrenia towards the end of his freshman year. Prosecutors, on the other hand, assert that Dominguez is intentionally feigning incompetency and should face a criminal trial.

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The jury will ultimately decide whether Dominguez is fit for trial, with the defense required to demonstrate that he currently lacks the ability to understand court proceedings, assist his attorney in his defense, and comprehend his status in criminal proceedings. If found mentally unfit, Dominguez will undergo evaluation for treatment at a state mental health hospital rather than proceeding with a criminal trial.

Carlos Dominguez had been a third-year student at UC Davis, majoring in biological sciences until his expulsion on April 25. He is accused of murdering a 50-year-old homeless man, who was well-loved in the community, and a 20-year-old UC Davis student. A homeless woman also survived an attack in her tent near the campus. All incidents occurred in close proximity to the university.

Hutchinson described Dominguez’s current state in jail as deeply troubling, with the defendant remaining unclothed, unmedicated, and untreated for his mental illness. On suicide watch, Dominguez is observed every 15 minutes, and his defense attorney claimed he has not showered or attended to his oral hygiene.

On the contrary, Frits van der Hoek, a Yolo County deputy district attorney, countered the defense’s claims, asserting that Dominguez is intentionally pretending to be unfit for trial. The court-appointed expert who initially declared him incompetent for trial did not rigorously question him, according to van der Hoek.

As the trial unfolds, Dominguez’s mental health and actions leading up to the tragic stabbings will be at the center of scrutiny. The case is expected to last up to eight days, with jurors not meeting next week.

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