Aaron Brown's mental state at the time of the stabbing could play a key role.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of Fresno's first murder of 2024 appeared before a county judge on Friday, one week after prosecutors say he stabbed his mother's boyfriend to death at an apartment they all shared near White and Jackson Avenues.
32-year-old Aaron Brown was flanked by two deputies one day after the sheriff's office said he refused to leave his cell for his first scheduled hearing.
Judge William Terrence delayed the arraignment and ordered Brown's attorney to meet with him at the jail.
That meeting played a crucial role. When Brown finally appeared on Friday, his attorney said she had doubts about his mental health.
"At this time, based on my conversations with my client yesterday, I'm going to declare a doubt," the attorney said.
"That means we need to determine whether or not he's competent to stand trial," Action News Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said. "Does he understand the process? Does he understand what the judge is, what the DA is, and what's going to happen in the courtroom?"
Legal analyst Tony Capozzi says a psychiatrist needs to examine Brown at the jail and write a report.
Because the psychiatrist is independent, the whole process could take months.
The district attorney and defense might object and have their own doctors evaluate Brown.
Fresno police revealed a possible motive for the attack after arresting Brown on Sunday.
They say he was upset over an argument between his mother and Bishop and killed the victim in an "unprovoked attack."
Brown's mental state at the time of the stabbing could play a key role.
Even if doctors say Brown can stand trial for murder, it does not mean he was of sound mind at the time of the homicide.
"Did he know right from wrong when he allegedly killed someone in this case?" Capozzi said. "That's another situation where both the defense and the prosecution will have competing witnesses testifying."
Brown is due back in court on February 23, when the court will review that independent medical report.
In the meantime, Capozzi says watch commanders at the county jail might put Brown on suicide watch and offer him therapy.