Judge: Man charged with Modesto kidnapping, rape not competent to stand trial

rahumada@modbee.comSeptember 5, 2013 

    Rosalio Ahumada
    Title: Courts reporter
    Coverage areas: Criminal cases, breaking news
    Bio: Rosalio Ahumada has been a reporter at The Bee for more than seven years, previously covering crime and public safety issues. He also has worked at the Merced Sun-Star, covering education.
    Recent stories written by Rosalio
    On Twitter: @ModBeeCourts
    E-mail: rahumada@modbee.com

— A man accused of beating a Modesto couple before kidnapping and raping their 3-year-old daughter 14 years ago won't stand trial anytime soon.

The court Thursday determined the defendant is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Pedro Vicente Aguirre, 36, will be sent to Napa State Hospital, where he will receive treatment. Stanislaus County Judge Thomas Zeff suspended the case.

The judge said in court the treatment is to help restore Aguirre's ability to understand the charges and punishment he faces and return to stand trial.

Aguirre is charged with two counts of attempted murder, forcible aggravated sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping to commit rape, committing a forcible lewd act on a child younger than 14, burglary and child endangerment.

The child endangerment charge stems from the fact that the couple's 7-year-old boy was in the home when the attack on his parents occurred.

Aguirre stood up during Thursday morning's hearing, speaking loudly and incoherently as the judge was trying to determine the maximum penalty the defendant faces.

The judge warned Aguirre and told him to be quiet. Aguirre continued speaking loudly in Spanish, so the judge asked the bailiff to remove the defendant from the courtroom.

Zeff then postponed the hearing until Monday, when he will determine the possible maximum penalty for Aguirre if he was convicted as charged. The hospital can't keep Aguirre confined at the medical facility longer than the maximum sentence.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees told the judge that just one of the felony charges Aguirre faces could result in life in prison if convicted.

The judge has had to remove Aguirre from his courtroom before. In May, a jury listened to testimony about Aguirre's mental health and decided he was mentally fit to stand trial. His mental health came into question again about a month later, when Aguirre had an outburst during a hearing and was removed from the courtroom.

Peter Stavrianoudakis, Aguirre's attorney, has argued in court that his client suffers from mental illness and is not able to communicate coherently and assist in his defense.

In a preliminary hearing last year, the prosecutor said Aguirre forced his way into the family's home in the 1600 block of Imperial Avenue about 8 a.m. Oct. 24, 1999.

Rees argued that Aguirre beat the 34-year-old father and the 26-year-old mother with a tire iron before grabbing their daughter and running away. The girl was sexually assaulted in a nearby orchard, authorities have testified, and two witnesses stopped the assault and chased away the assailant.

The parents later were released from the hospital after being treated for major blunt-force head trauma. The 3-year-old girl required surgery.

Stavrianoudakis argued in the preliminary hearing that the prosecution presented conflicting testimony linking his client to the attack, the kidnapping and the sexual assault.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or (209) 578-2394. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeCourts.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service