Porterville Teen Murder Case

Visalia, CA, USA 19-year old Miguel Ruiz walked into court on Tuesday wearing a dress shirt and pants instead of his usual county jail jumpsuit. Ruiz's attorney says the Porterville teenager is not competent to stand trial because he has certain disabilities to prevent him from fully understanding court proceedings. Dr. Howard Glidden, a Neuropsychologist who evaluated Ruiz, testified that Ruiz has a language disability.

"You have to understand what I'm asking and I have to be able to understand how you're responding and if you're responding to what I'm asking and his language I didn't feel was at the point where I would trust that he understood me," said Dr. Howard Glidden.

In October of 2006, police arrested Miguel Ruiz after they say he stabbed his mother twice, killing her. Prosecutors say Ruiz killed her during an argument where she told him he could not date a 12-year old girl who lived next door. Dr. Glidden didn't believe Ruiz was mentally disabled but said verbal tests indicated he had a significant language deficit.

"The diagnosis was more clear to me that this was a language disorder not a global disorder," said Dr. Howard Glidden.

Prosecutors say Miguel Ruiz was fully aware of what he was doing when he killed his mom. They say a taped video confession and letters he wrote to his neighbor prove his competency.

Tulare County Prosecutor Don Gallian said, "When I see the tapes where he's very explicit and read the letter in which he was very articulate and explicit he doesn't seem to have a language problem now."


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