SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A registered nurse accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife and her male friend after watching them cuddle in her Sabre Springs apartment is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Criminal proceedings were reinstated against Melchor Marabante, who is charged with murdering his 23-year-old wife, Valerie, and her colleague and friend, 26-year-old Bernabe Villamar, last Feb. 20.
After reviewing a doctor's report, Judge Frederick Maguire found that Marabante understands the charges against him and is capable of assisting his attorney at trial.
Marabante, 42, will be back in court Jan. 4 for a status conference. He is being held without bail.
Valerie Marabante worked as a registered nurse at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa, and Villamar was a licensed vocational nurse at the prison.
The defendant had been served with divorce papers three weeks before the killings and his wife had kicked him out of their apartment, according to court testimony.
Retired San Diego police Officer Kenneth Hodges testified at a preliminary hearing in August that Villamar's body was found in the living room and Valerie Marabante's body was found in the garage.
A patio door had been broken out from the outside and a broken tree stake was found nearby, Hodges testified.
Marabante's brother, Philip, testified that his brother told him that he saw his wife and her friend kissing and hugging and then shot them with a gun that his sibling had taken away from him and put in his trunk when the defendant moved in with him.
Philip Marabante said his brother had told him he thought his wife was having an affair with a co-worker.
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