A judge has scheduled a preliminary hearing to start March 17 for a man accused of stabbing his wife to death in their home in Modesto’s airport neighborhood. Before then, the court has to determine whether the defendant is mentally competent to be prosecuted.
Jose Fajardo, 32, has been charged with murder in the death of Marlene Rubi Sosa Fajardo, 30, who was stabbed Aug. 28. He remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.
It’s unclear why Fajardo’s mental competency has come into question. Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova on Monday scheduled the preliminary hearing but suspended the case until the defendant’s competency can be determined.
The judge scheduled the defendant to return to court Jan. 27, when a report will be submitted by a doctor who will evaluate Fajardo’s mental health.
Córdova could indefinitely suspend the case if the court determines, based on the doctor’s evaluation, that Fajardo is not mentally fit to be prosecuted. If not, the preliminary hearing would proceed as scheduled, and at its conclusion the judge would determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
The stabbing occurred at the home in the 200 block of Santa Ana Avenue. Fajardo’s brother called police to report the stabbing, and Fajardo surrendered peacefully upon their arrival. The couple’s children, a 9-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, were home at the time of the incident but did not witness the stabbing.
Fajardo also faces an enhancement because authorities say he used a knife, which could lengthen his sentence if convicted.