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Murder suspect not competent for trial, being civilly committed

Murder suspect not competent for trial, being civilly committed

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of murdering a co-worker seven years ago may never be competent to stand trial.

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg on Monday ordered the attorney for Victor Herrera Briones, 30, to begin the process of having him civilly committed.

Briones is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in the April 27, 2006, shooting death of Hugo Rosas-Pardo.

The two men worked construction together. Prosecutors say a friend of Rosas-Pardo purchased a truck from Briones. The truck, however, had a bad engine. Rosas-Pardo and Briones argued over whether Briones should give the truck buyer a partial refund, according to court documents.

Later that night, after Rosas-Pardon had gone home, Briones drove up to his house and shot him several times, the charges state. Rosas-Pardo died in the driveway.

Since the murder charge was filed, Briones has spent most of his time at the Utah State Hospital where doctors have been trying to restore him to competency so he can stand trial.

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During the latest competency review hearing for Briones on Monday, the court noted that Utah State Hospital's latest report indicated doctors do not believe he will ever be competent for trial.

Briones' attorney, Heather Brereton, informed the court she would like to begin the process of "releasing the defendant from the criminal aspect and allow a civil commitment to begin," according to a court docket. The judge agreed.

Brereton also suggested the status of his civil committment be reviewed on a yearly basis. Another competency hearing was scheduled for Nov. 3, 2014.

Briones will continue to receive mental health treatment. If he is ever determined to no longer be a danger to the community or to himself, he could be released and prosecutors could resume their criminal action against him.

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Pat Reavy

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