Man accused of gunning down estranged wife in Gaslamp ordered to - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of gunning down estranged wife in Gaslamp ordered to undergo another competency exam

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Another mental competency evaluation was ordered Monday for an 84-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife on a busy street in the Gaslamp District last year.

Criminal proceedings remain suspended against Joseph Gotell, who is charged with murder in the shooting of 57-year-old Deborah Gotell.

Last November, doctors deemed the defendant competent to stand trial, but an evaluation requested by his attorney determined he was incompetent.

Prosecutor C.J. Mody told Judge Jeffrey Fraser today he wanted a fresh evaluation of the defendant if a trial on the issue of mentally competency is planned.

A hearing on the results of the latest examination is scheduled Sept. 14.

Mody said at an earlier hearing that Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. May 14, 2011, 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 said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant, but he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.


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