Crime

Live updates: Attorney of alleged cop killer Gustavo Perez Arriaga questions his mental state

Gustavo Perez Arriaga, who is accused of killing Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh during a traffic stop last week, makes his first appearance in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Here is what’s happening in and outside of court. We’ll be updating this story throughout the day.

2:13 p.m.: The court must determine whether Arriaga is mentally competent before proceeding with the case. The defendant told the judge his true name is Paulo Virgen Mendoza. Gustavo Perez Arriaga was just one of his aliases. Authorities have said he used several different names on social media.

2:07 p.m.: Arriaga, accused of killing Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, did not enter a plea today. His attorney questions his mental competency. The case against him has been suspended until he gets a mental health evaluation.

2 p.m.: Jann Mathies, a neighbor of Singh’s who has known him nine years, was at the courthouse to show her support. She said Singh and Mathies’ husband were fishing partners. “We’re broken-hearted and sickened at what is happening to our officers,” she said. “When they go through so much training to protect us and to have their life wiped out so needlessly just makes us heartsick. … “I feel like If we can all band together and see change happen, but it’s going to take all of us working together. I think sometimes people feel like I’m only one person and what can I do? But you see what happens when one person decides to make a sign, get in their car and get down here … hopefully, we’ll see change. And I hope our leaders are listening.”

1:35 p.m.: Kerrie Crain, one of the founders of Stand Together to Make a Change, talked to The Bee about her fears over safety for her husband, who is a law enforcement officer.

1:30 p.m.: Family members of the defendants and the victim have entered the courtroom; others in line could not get in.

1:10 p.m.: About 50 people, including several Newman police officers, are in line to enter Dept. 8, where the arraignment is to be held.

12:55 p.m.: Roughly 75 people have assembled outside the courthouse. Several said, “We support you!” as Singh’s family members entered the building. Drivers are honking in support as they go by. They also are thanking police officers for their service as officers enter the building.

12:30 p.m.: Supporters of Singh began showing up at the courthouse in the morning. Earlier in the day, formal charges were filed against Arriaga.

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