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Accused Jessup mental hospital killer ruled not competent to stand trial

Justice SystemHomicideMaryland State Police

A man accused of killing a fellow patient last year at the Clifton T. Perkins state psychiatric hospital in Jessup is not competent to stand trial, a judge ruled today.

Andre Mayo, 46, is facing one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Rogelio Mondragon.

Mayo's trial was set to begin May 8. Instead, that trial has been postponed indefinitely following an April 12 hearing in Howard County Circuit Court where Judge Louis A. Becker III found Mayo not competent.

"Both the state psychiatrist and the defense psychiatrist had each conducted three separate interviews with Mayo," said T. Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for the Howard County State's Attorney's Office. "They mostly felt he was unable to assist in his own defense."

Mayo's public defender, Mary Pizzo, said her client "continues to have serious mental illness.

"He's unable at this time to participate fully in his defense or participate at all in his trial. He's just obviously not prepared to go forward at this time," she said. "He has serious delusions. He just has a significant mental illness that impairs his ability to rationally understand what's going on."

Mayo had been at the psychiatric hospital, which houses the criminally insane, since December 2008, according to Maryland State Police, which investigated Mondragon's death.

Hospital staff were conducting their rounds at about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2011, when they saw Mondragon lying unresponsive on the floor of his room, police said. Hospital staff and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him, and he was pronounced dead.

Mondragon had suffered injuries to his hands, face and neck that suggested he had been in a physical altercation, police said.

Surveillance footage showed Mayo going into Mondragon's room twice within a half-hour before Mondragon was found unresponsive. Mondragon was the only person in the room when Mayo entered, police said.

Mayo is being held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup. Officials with the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are looking into alternative locations or treatment plans for Mayo, according to Kirwan.

That will be decided at a May 7 status conference, he said.

Defendants who are ruled incompetent usually have a review six months later, though no date has been set yet, Kirwan said.

Mondragon's death was one of two to occur at the psychiatric hospital in the span of a week, and the third within a 13-month period.

David Rico-Noyola, 22, was killed six days before Mondragon died. His roommate, Vitali Davydov, 25, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder. He has a motions hearing set for April 30 and is scheduled to stand trial on July 16, according to online court records.

Susan Sachs, 45, was killed in September 2010. El Soundani Elwahhabi, 51, is accused of using a piece of string to strangle her. His trial on one count of first-degree murder ended in March with a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

A retrial for Elwahhabi is scheduled for July 23, according to online court records.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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