Jury to decide if former student accused of Davis stabbing deaths is competent to stand trial

In order to determine whether 21-year-old Carlos Reales, the man accused of fatally stabbing two individuals and injuring another, is mentally capable of facing trial for those crimes, the jury in Davis started listening to testimonies in the competency trial this week.

Carlos Reales Dominguez, with his disheveled black hair, remains motionless beside his court-appointed lawyer, adorned in a green vest meant for suicide prevention, amidst the chaotic surroundings. Within the confines of his Yolo County jail cell, over the past few days, the individual who once attended UC Davis as a freshman has meticulously documented the testimonies of the witnesses summoned by the defense.

The university community was unsettled by a series of knife attacks that occurred between April 27 and May 1, in which Dominguez fatally stabbed David Breaux, aged 50, and Karim Abou Najm, aged 20, and critically injured Kimberlee Guillory, aged 64.

If he is not sent to the hospital until his trial, he stands to fit the state’s criteria. If the jury finds him competent, his trial will be scheduled. The central question now is whether he is able to understand the criminal proceedings and assist in his defense, considering his mental competency.

Hutchinson, Daniel Hutchinson, the public defender representing Dominguez, informed the jury during the opening statements on Tuesday that his client has schizophrenia and lacks the capacity to aid in his own defense.

In early June, the psychologist Juliana Dr. Rohrer backed up the statement that Dominguez was ordered by the court to conduct a competency exam.

“I would say that Mr. Dominguez is a classic example of schizophrenia,” she said.

“Malingering,” or pretending to be ill, is determined by Dominguez through various psychological tests, and her decision was based on the expert witness Rohrer’s testimony as outlined in court.

She specifically emphasized Dominguez’s capability to remain completely motionless for approximately seven or eight hours as proof of schizophrenia.

She expressed, “In my opinion, it would probably be one of the most challenging tasks for anyone to convincingly counterfeit.” “Having spent years working in a correctional facility, I have witnessed numerous individuals attempting to feign various aspects, and typically they opt for situations that won’t put them in a state of unease.”

Rohrer agreed that a trial could argue that someone with schizophrenia could still be competent. The prosecution told the jurors during their opening statements that Dominguez is capable of making decisions based on what is going on with him and toying with the system.

Testifying on the stand, individuals acquainted with Dominguez from his first year until the killings, such as his former partner Caley Gallardo, affirmed that Dominguez had consistently displayed introverted tendencies. However, they noted a substantial decline in his behavior and well-being during their time together on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gallardo and Dominguez’s former roommates testified that he frequently consumed alcohol and marijuana. They stated that he informed them about hearing sinister voices in his dreams, and they observed that he started exhibiting signs of paranoia.

On Wednesday, two mental health professionals from Yolo County Jail testified that former UC Davis student Davis repeatedly asked his school counselor to sign up for classes, despite being expelled shortly before the murders occurred.

The prosecution contended that Dominguez may think that he can still register for courses and is opting to act in this manner.

Mark Reichel, a practicing criminal defense attorney in Sacramento, says that offering alternative explanations is a larger part of this strategy, which is why Dominguez could be acting irrationally.

Reichel states that by requesting a trial by jury, the prosecution has increased their likelihood of proving Dominguez’s competency.

He stated, “Do not judge one unfairly, but rather persuade the defense attorneys to make their case. We want to have a jury here that is knowledgeable, so tell us which move in this chess match they thought was their best.”

Reichel states that the final statements will hold utmost importance in this particular case, and he expresses his curiosity regarding the lawyers’ approach in analyzing and elucidating the testimony of the psychological and medical mental health experts to the jury.

Reichel states that the typical duration of the process ranges from three to six months. In the event that Dominguez is deemed unfit, he will be transferred to a state hospital for the purpose of regaining competence.

Towards the midpoint of that week, Judge Samuel T. MacAdam informed the jury that he anticipates they will be requested to render a verdict. The trial is set to recommence on August 7 and will observe a hiatus during the week of July 31.