Michael Gomez, Jesus Carranzaâ€™s defense attorney, presented a motion in Judge Charles C. Currierâ€™s court, Wednesday, to have one of the stateâ€™s key witnesses evaluated for psychological disorders. Carranza, 27, is charged with the murder of 16- year -old Zachary Perez.
The youthâ€™s body was found in a vacant lot near East Fifth Street on Feb. 13, 2011. According to the criminal complaint, Perez was drinking with his brother, James Ortega, at Missouri Avenue Park before they were picked up by friends and driven to a house located in the 600 block of East Sixth Street.
Ortega told officials he later left the house without his brother. He returned to the area after he heard his brother had been involved in a stabbing and found Perez lying in a field in the area.
Autopsy reports indicated that Perez had been stabbed 22 times. In Wednesdayâ€™s hearing, Gomez said that he had talked to stateâ€™s witness Christopher Glenn. Gomez then checked Glennâ€™s medical history. He said the witness had been treated for bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia and also suffered from delusions.
â€œI would like to have the witness examined for competency, although I know this would be an exception and not the rule,â€ said Gomez.
Deputy District Attorney Alan Griffin, standing in for Assistant District Attorney Debra Hutchins, argued that bipolar disorder, paranoia or even delusions did not disqualify a person as a witness. Currier felt the state should not have to pay for an evaluation.
However, he said, â€œThe court could set up a hearing to see if heâ€™s cogent and able to respond to questions.â€ He added that it would be important for the District Attorneyâ€™s office to know if the stateâ€™s primary witness was competent.
Currier ruled if the court decided Glennâ€™s competency were in question, a forensic evaluation could be ordered, but the state would not bear the expense. The competency hearing has been set for July 26 at 8 a.m.