SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Criminal proceedings were reinstated Monday in the case of a man accused of killing his wife, a Chula Vista woman who remains missing more than 18 months after disappearing from her home.
The mental competency finding means the criminal case will go forward again against Larry Millete, 41, who is charged with murder for allegedly killing 39-year-old May "Maya" Millete, the mother of his three children.
In June, Millete's defense attorney, Bonita Martinez, declared a doubt as to her client's competency to stand trial, which halted the criminal case.
On Monday, Martinez stipulated to the findings in a report authored by a psychiatrist who examined Millete.Based on that report, San Diego Superior Court Judge Cindy Davis found that Millete is mentally competent.
Millete is slated to have a three-week preliminary hearing, during which the prosecution will present evidence it believes will support the charges of murder and unlawful possession of an assault weapon filed against him. A status conference is set for this on Friday at the South Bay courthouse in Chula Vista, at which time the preliminary hearing date might be set.
Back in June, Larry Millete was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation by court appointed psychiatrists to determine if he is fit to stand trial.
Millete’s defense attorney Bonita Martinez tells CBS 8 being away from his kids has taken a toll on her client’s mental health.
What psychiatrists will determine is whether or not Millete understands the nature of the charges against him so that he can assist his attorney in his defense.
If they tell the court yes, he is fit to stand trial, the case picks up right where it left off.
If the psychiatrists say no, he is not fit to stand trial, then Millete would be sent to a state hospital where he would undergo professional help to restore his competency. The process can sometimes take months or years.
“He could object to those findings and there could be a trial on the issue whatever the findings were,” said legal expert Jan Ronis. However, he said cases like that are rare.
A family member said a team of trained volunteers continues to search for Maya on weekends, though the locations of those searches are no longer publicly posted on social media.
The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
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