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April 7, 2014

Case suspended for Modesto man accused in wife’s fatal stabbing

A man accused of stabbing to death his wife in Modesto will be sent to a state hospital, where he can restore his mental health before he can be prosecuted for the alleged crime.

A man accused of stabbing his wife to death in Modesto will be sent to a state hospital for treatment before he can be prosecuted.

On Monday, the court determined that Jose Fajardo was mentally incompetent to face a charge of murder in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Marlene Rubi Sosa Fajardo.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova indefinitely suspended Fajardo’s case and ordered the defendant sent to Napa State Hospital. When Fajardo is deemed competent, he will be returned to Stanislaus County for prosecution.

The judge’s ruling was based on a doctor’s report evaluating Fajardo’s mental health.

Fajardo, 32, has been in custody since his arrest shortly after his wife’s stabbing last August. His case has not reached the preliminary hearing phase, at which the judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence for the defendant to stand trial.

Marlene Fajardo was stabbed Aug. 28 at the couple’s home in the 200 block of Santa Ana Avenue in Modesto’s airport neighborhood.

Fajardo’s brother called police about 12:40 a.m. to report the stabbing, and Fajardo surrendered peacefully when officers arrived.

The couple’s children, a 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, were home at the time but did not witness the stabbing.

Because authorities say he used a knife, Fajardo also was charged with an enhancement that could affect his sentence if he is convicted.

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