VISTA (CNS) - A paroled rapist accused of shooting his wife in front of their two children as they prepared to go to church New Year's Day is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Dontaye Henderson, 29, is charged with one count each of murder, being a felon in possession of a handgun and kidnapping -- all felonies -- and two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. He faces a maximum of 96 years to life in prison if convicted.
After reviewing a doctor's evaluation Wednesday, Judge Frederick Maguire found that Henderson understood the charges against him and could assist his attorney at trial.
Criminal proceedings were reinstated and a readiness conference was set for June 10 in Vista. A preliminary hearing was set for June 14.
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe told the judge at Henderson's arraignment in late January that the defendant was on parole for a 2003 conviction for raping a former wife when he fatally shot his current spouse, Tamara.
The 25-year-old victim -- who was an Army reservist -- had a 6-year-old daughter and the couple had a 16-month-old son together, the prosecutor said.
The 6-year-old saw her mother get shot in the chest, Watanabe told the judge.
Henderson called 911 after the shooting, telling dispatchers that his wife had an asthma attack and needed help, Watanabe said.
When authorities arrived, they found the victim on the bed, with a photo of the defendant face down on her chest and a photo on the couple face-down on her groin area, the prosecutor said.
Authorities found a trash bag with holes cut out for the head and arms that they think Henderson might have worn to keep from getting blood on him, the prosecutor said.
Henderson was gone, but the two children were sitting by the family's Christmas tree when authorities arrived, Watanabe said.
He said the 6-year-old told police the defendant "ran away because he didn't want to go to jail."
The Global Positioning System device that Henderson was wearing as part of his parole was found in an Oceanside hotel room, Watanabe said.
The defendant forced a female co-worker, Consuelo Ramirez, to drive him to El Centro with her child before letting her go, the prosecutor alleged.
Authorities determined that Henderson was on a bus to Lexington, Ky., which was intercepted in St. Louis on Jan. 4. He was carrying a camera bag containing a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and "told the agents that he had shot his wife," Watanabe told the judge.
The prosecutor said Tamara Henderson told her mother the day before she died that she thought her husband would kill her in her sleep.
Cal Fire is at the scene of a wildfire burning off State Route 94 near Church Road in the Campo Indian Reservation.
A small plane crashed Saturday evening near the El Capitan Reservoir, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed.
Backers of an initiative that would allow San Diego State University to buy the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley for campus expansion are scheduled to begin seeking petition signatures Saturday.
Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a "sympathetic murder-suicide."
Sunshine and higher temperatures are making the return to San Diego County Saturday after intermittent drizzle across the region on Friday.
President Donald Trump is portraying the Islamic State group's ouster from its Syrian stronghold as a milestone in the U.S. fight against terrorism and a step toward a political transition and lasting peace in Syria.
The San Diego Police Department announced Saturday that officers will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations.
The San Diego Gulls allowed power-play and shorthanded goals in the first period and an empty-net goal in the third in a 4-2 loss to the Stockton Heat Friday night at Stockton.
Authorities asked the public Friday for help in identifying and tracking down a pair of thieves who have carried out a two-week series of bank robberies this month in the San Diego area.