Gruesome Madera murder case lost in translation

MADERA, Calif.

The attorney for Jeronimo Ramirez Martinez made that request during a court hearing Friday.

The crime scene Madera Police discovered May 28th was one of the most horrific in the city's recent history. Detectives say two men were mutilated using a grape knife like this one. Now the attorney for the man police say confessed to the crime is questioning whether Jeronimo Ramirez Martinez is competent to stand trial. During a court hearing Friday, he asked that the 34-year-old be examined by doctors. Prosecutors did not challenge the request.

Madera County District Attorney, Michael Keitz said, "He wants to look into his client's mental capacity and capability at this time probably to see if there's any issues there."

Ramirez Martinez was facing the possibility of a death sentence if convicted, but ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says he could end up in a psychiatric hospital instead.

"The fact is if he's found not to be competent, there's not gonna be a trial. He's gonna be sent down to Atascadero until he becomes competent, if ever," said Capozzi.

Another complication in the case also emerged Friday when we learned Ramirez Martinez speaks Trique, a rare language native to Oaxaca, Mexico. During the hearing he had to use two interpreters to communicate.

"Defense council used a Trique interpreter to interpret from Trique to Spanish and then we used a Spanish interpreter to translate from Spanish to English," said Keitz.

Capozzi says that could present serious problems, "With the two interpreters it will slow the trial. The other problem is if he's convicted he has a wonderful ground for an appeal to have this case reversed by making the allegation that what I thought was going on in court is not what really happened."

Ramirez Martinez is scheduled to be back in court here July 9th. That will be to review the reports by the three doctors who will be evaluating him.

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