SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An 83-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife on a busy street in the Gaslamp District is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Joseph Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murdering his 57-year-old wife, Deborah.
Judge Frederick Maguire reinstated criminal proceedings Wednesday, after attorneys agreed with a doctor's evaluation that the defendant understands the charges against him and can assist his lawyer at trial.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 2.
Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. on May 14 near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. They argued, and Gotell pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot his wife twice in the head and once in the right arm, the prosecutor alleged. She was declared brain dead the next morning.
After the shooting, Gotell threw his gun about 10 feet away and was quickly detained by two security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer, Mody said.
The prosecutor said the Gotells had separated after about five years of marriage. The victim was out running errands when she was confronted by her estranged husband, he said.
Authorities have yet to offer an official motive for the crime, but the victim's three adult daughters told reporters that their mother had broken away several times from the defendant.
Del Mar racing fans had a different reason to cheer on Saturday. This time it was for Martine Bellocq.
Deserts will dry out over the weekend, monsoonal moisture returning by Tuesday. Weekend temperatures slightly warmer as the high moves over the region, bringing in drier air. Beach conditions to improve Saturday. Water temperature slightly cooler than last week.
A man who fired a gun and threatened customers at a Fallbrook bar early Saturday morning was thwarted by patrons who tackled him and held him until law enforcement could arrive, a San Diego County sheriff's deputy said.
A man is suspected of crashing his car into a Skyline home and fleeing before being apprehended by police early Saturday morning.
The San Diego team in the Alliance of American football announced the signing of former San Diego State offensive tackle Terry Poole, a fourth-round choice by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 NFL draft, and nine other players.
A San Diego man with a prior conviction for the same offense was sentenced in federal court to more than 3 1/2 years in prison for his admitted role in a human-smuggling attempt that seriously injured a U.S. Border Patrol officer.
San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Fischer is free Friday night after posting $2 million bail. He is accused of groping and assaulting more than a dozen women while on duty.