Man convicted of killing roommate asks for new trial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man convicted of killing roommate asks for new trial

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A schizophrenic convicted of fatally stabbing his roommate in their Pacific Beach apartment told a judge Friday that he wants a new trial based on ineffective counsel.

Ian Suazo, 23, was convicted in March of second-degree murder in the Sept. 24, 2008, death of Ocie Raines.

Jurors also found that Suazo was sane when he killed Raines, although he is a diagnosed schizophrenic.

The jury rejected defense claims that Suazo was hearing voices and convinced that a "soul collector" was coming to get him, as defense attorney Richard Gates maintained.

Judge John Einhorn appointed an attorney to look into the defendant's claims that a new trial is warranted.

The judge will hear that possible motion Nov. 19, and if it is not brought or denied, sentencing will follow the same day.

Suazo faces 16 years to life in prison.

Gates argued during trial that, because of his mental illness, Suazo did not know the nature and quality of his actions and didn't know it was morally wrong to stab the victim with a bread knife.

"This is not the way you kill a friend," Gates told the jury. "This is the way you kill something that is evil."

Suazo poured salt around the doors and windows of his apartment to ward off evil spirits and mistook the 39-year-old Raines for a "soul collector" and killed him, Gates said.

After Suazo killed Raines, he cut his wrists and threw himself in front of a car in an attempt to commit suicide, the defense attorney said.

Suazo was out of touch with reality and even went to a church in hopes that God would protect him, his attorney said.

But Deputy District Attorney Ana De Santiago said that just because the defendant suffers from a mental disease doesn't mean he didn't know right from wrong.

The prosecutor said Suazo was angry and frustrated at Raines because he thought his roommate was somehow responsible for him getting fired at a local hookah bar about a week before the murder.

Months before the killing, Suazo was described as a good worker who was functional and had a social life, the prosecutor said.

Suazo had been warned to stay away from drugs and alcohol but voluntarily chose to resume those habits, De Santiago said.

After Suazo was fired, his father said he was "mad as hell," according to the prosecutor.

Friends said Suazo was drinking "morning, noon and night" after he lost his job, De Santiago said.

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