Murder suspect awaits competency evaluation
A Porterville man accused of shooting and killing his ex-wife in 2011 is awaiting a mental competency evaluation.
Emigdio Guzman Ojeda, 49, is charged with first degree murder in the Aug. 2, 2011, slaying of 48-year-old Flor Sanchez of Porterville.
Ojeda was scheduled for a jury trial Feb. 11, but the trial was vacated due to “doubt as to his mental competence,” according to Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz,
His next court date is set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 26 in Department 5 of the Tulare County Superior Court in Visalia, for a hearing on the doctor’s report, said Vicky Coehlo, a spokeswoman with the district attorney’s office.
Ojeda faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted. The murder charge carries two special allegations, both dealing with the use of a firearm.
In addition to the murder charge, Ojeda faces three misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a gun, resisting arrest and violation of a restraining order.
According to officials, Sanchez was shot more than once and died from a gunshot wound to the chest. She was pronounced dead at Sierra View District Hospital soon after arrival.
After the shooting, Ojeda fled to his home just a block away at the corner of Henderson Avenue and Woods Street. Tulare County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Porterville police surrounded the house and closed Henderson Avenue for more than two hours as they tried to talk the man out. He finally surrendered.
Sanchez was a mother of three, the youngest a teenage son, and worked at the Porterville Community Services and Employment Training office. She had worked for CSET for about seven years. She was home for lunch when she was killed in her front yard.
The couple reportedly divorced about six months prior to the shooting, and acquaintances of the suspect said Ojeda had been under medication for depression. Others described him as a happy, easy-going man, someone they would not expect to kill anyone.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.