A mental health evaluation has been ordered for the homeless man accused of stabbing a 26-year-old pregnant woman to death as she left her South Salinas apartment to go to her job at a nearby bank.
Monterey County Superior Court Judge Mark Hood ordered the evaluation during a Jan. 16 pretrial hearing for Garrett Scheff, who is accused in the Nov. 16 killing of Mariana Jurado and her fetus. Jurado was set upon as she walked to her car from her Clay Street apartment about 9:30 that morning—she survived long enough to describe her attacker to police and Scheff was arrested a short time later.
As a result of the mental health proceedings now pending, Scheff will be examined by a court-appointed expert. If he is found competent, he will proceed to trial. If he is found incompetent to stand trial, he will be sent to a competency restoration program, likely at Atascadero State Hospital. If he is returned to competency, he would then proceed to trial.
If he doesn't become competent to stand trial, it's possible the criminal case would be dismissed but the 43-year-old Scheff would become "conserved," or a ward of the state, and remain hospitalized indefinitely.
Scheff's criminal history dates back to 1995 and includes 11 felonies, mostly theft, property crimes and narcotics. In a 2014 grand theft case, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 182 days in jail, but the following August, he was transferred to a state hospital.
In the Jurado case, Scheff could face the death penalty as prosecutors allege he committed multiple murders—one count for Jurado's death, and one count for that of her two-month-old fetus.
Scheff will appear in court for a hearing on Jan. 30.