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.
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