SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Criminal proceedings were suspended Monday for a homeless man who pleaded guilty to throwing sulfuric acid on a stranger as she was leaving a laundromat east of downtown San Diego.
Arturo Jose Reyes, 56, was supposed to be sentenced Monday, but Deputy Public Defender Abbey Noel told a judge that she had doubts about her client's ability to understand the court proceedings.
Judge Laura Halgren ordered a mental competency examination and set a hearing for Jan. 23.
Authorities said the victim spotted Reyes sitting in a dark blue BMW as she was walking into the laundry on 25th Street near Broadway about 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 22.
Prosecutor Kelly Rand said Reyes confronted the woman outside the business, yelled something about the devil, then threw the acid on her.
The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of second-degree burns. Rand said the woman suffered blisters on her eyes, cheek and buttocks.
Reyes, who was apprehended at a nearby gas station, also suffered second-degree burns from the sulfuric acid, which is used in drain cleaner, Rand said. She said the defendant was homeless and had $11,000 in cash in his car when he was arrested.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled Tuesday for a former San Diego police officer accused of groping four women during pat-down searches last year.
Chula Vista police will be looking for drivers talking or texting on cell phones Tuesday and through the end of the month as part of "Distracting Driving Awareness Month."
Police were on the lookout Tuesday for the man who fired a shot while robbing a Rolando-area smoke shop and his accomplice who emptied its cash register.