SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A mental competency trial is scheduled Friday for an 84-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
Criminal proceedings against Joseph Gotell were suspended last year when his attorney requested a mental evaluation to determine whether his client was fit to stand trial for murder in the May 2011 death of his 57-year-old wife, Deborah.
Doctors deemed the defendant competent last November but in July, a judge agreed to the prosecution's request for a second evaluation of Gotell, who was married to the victim for about five years. The results of that evaluation are slated to be heard Friday.
Authorities allege that Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. May 14, 2011, near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, while she was running errands. He allegedly pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot his wife twice in the head and once in the right arm. 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, authorities said.
Authorities have yet to offer a motive for the slaying. The victim's three adult daughters have said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant but that he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.
If tried and convicted, Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison.
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