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Defense: Nicolas Guaman 'Not Competent' to Stand Trial

A defense attorney representing Nicolas Guaman, an Ecuadorian immigrant accused of killing Milford motorcyclist Matthew Denice, said in court Tuesday he has an expert who will testify he is mentally incompetent.

UPDATED: Judge James Lemire is expected to take up the issue of competency and the family depositions at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Original Post:

An attorney representing Nicolas Guaman, the Ecuadorian man charged in the death of Matthew Denice, said in Worcester Superior Court Tuesday that he has an expert who will testify his client is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

and numerous other offenses in the Aug. 20, 2011 death of Denice, a 23-year-old motorcyclist and Milford resident.

In court for a pretrial hearing, lead attorney Peter Ettenberg, of Worcester, told the judge he had an expert who would testify that Guaman is mentally incompetent to stand trial in the case, according to Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office in Worcester. Jarvey attended the hearing, and was reached by Milford Patch Tuesday night.

Jarvey said no documentation was presented to the court by the defense attorneys, and noted that the state prosecutors have not yet had Guaman evaluated by a medical expert.

In an email, Ettenberg said Wednesday morning that Superior Judge James Lemire has ordered another medical evaluation of Guaman.

"We have met with him a number of times and it has become clear to us that he simply can’t assist us in defending his case," Ettenberg wrote. "That’s something to which he has a constitutional right to do. As a result, we retained a neuropsychologist to conduct an evaluation to render an opinion whether Mr. Guaman is competent to stand trial. The doctor’s opinion is that Mr. Guaman is not competent and we so advised the judge."

In a post on the Facebook site, Justice for Matt, the Denice family posted the following comment: "Guaman was able to get here from Ecuador, has lived here illegally for at least 7 years that we are aware of, married, provided for his family, worked as a roofer and in construction, has been driving around and has been arrested several times for other crimes... but he is now mentally incompetent."

The state will have a clinician on hand Wednesday, for an evaluation for Guaman, Jarvey said, as part of a 9 a.m. hearing that is expected to include courtroom depositions of four members of the Guaman family.

The defense, Jarvey said, "was hoping to postpone the depositions" Tuesday but was not successful. The depositions, which will be videotaped, are designed to capture the testimony of four family witnesses, relating to the events that transpired Aug. 20, 2011.

The family members have not been identified in documents, but defense attorneys confirmed earlier this year they include the 6-year-old , who was a passenger in the pickup truck the night of the collision with Denice.

An adult witness who was in the truck — after breaking off a GPS tracking bracelet being monitored by federal authorities. He is thought to be in Ecuador.

Guaman entered the U.S. illegally, according to police. He is subject to an ICE detainer, should he be released from custody. While his trial proceeds, he is being held in a Worcester County facility.

Before the charges in the Denice case, he was arrested several times in Massachusetts, In that case, the charges were dismissed.

Babs01757 June 27, 2012 at 01:28 AM
You have got to be kidding me!!!! What is becoming of our country? I pray that Justice is served. An innocent life was taken and Guaman has to pay for his crime. If he had stopped his truck when he hit Matthew Denice this conversation would not be happening, Matthew would be alive and Guaman would still be a free man. But instead he fled like a coward and killed an innocent young man. How do these criminal lawyers live with themselves????
Tippy Doodle June 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM
This story has left me SPEECHLESS!
Not a Townie June 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I can't wait to hear what the family members have to say.
Milford Senior Man June 27, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Lawyers make me sick. This criminal was able to function perfectly fine going through life. But now that he's in deep trouble He's incompetent to face trial. The truth is, he's incompetent to face justice. How much do you have to pay these expert witnesses?
Carolyn Kahn June 27, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Last I checked, he was had been working as a roofer to support his family. That is actually considered a "skilled labor" position. I doubt someone considered "mentally incompetant" would be capable of holding a skilled labor position. I would classify him as being "morally incompetant" instead which fits quite a few of those curently behind bars
Milford Senior Man June 27, 2012 at 03:00 PM
These lawyers make me sick. This illegal goes through his every day life just fine working as a roofer. Now that he gets into some very serious trouble he's mentally incompetent to stand trial. He's actually incompetent to face justice like Walpole prison. An "expert" is going to have the courtroom crying with all the sad tales of poor illegal mister Guaman. How about some justice for Matthew Denice.
Ralph Malph June 27, 2012 at 03:49 PM
How does he have "constitutional rights" he's not a citizen?
JAY Emmitt June 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
He BECAME competent as soon as he drank,turned the key in the ignition and drove that truck. I am sorry,but you can't spent all this time here working and providing for a family ( and violating several laws) taking advantage of the opportunities here and then when something goes wrong.....opps I'm incompetent!!
Andie June 27, 2012 at 05:33 PM
That's a good question Ralph Malph. I'd like to know how that works too.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 05:36 PM
An update: the hearing has yet to begin, so will post when something happens...
ACGreyhound June 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I'd love to know who got Ettenberg to defend him. The guy's probably the best defense atty in this part of the state. What a waste...
Live and In Color June 27, 2012 at 08:27 PM
This is not what court said, it's the lawyers defense, big difference. And raise your hand if you know who's paying for these evaluations and his lawyer, mine's up.
Milford Senior Man June 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM
"We" the taxpaying citizens are paying for his expensive lawyer and this "expert" who will say Guaman is innocent because all of a sudden he's incompetent to stand trial. What a great country.
Heidi Heidi Ho June 28, 2012 at 02:44 PM
"We have met with him a number of times and it has become clear to us that he simply can’t assist us in defending his case," So, considering they have an interpreter with 30 years of experience, are they saying that he's just stupid?
Maureen Maloney June 30, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Yes we the family and friends of Matthew are devastated by the recent mental incompetency finding of Nicolas Guaman . We firmly believe that he is mentally competent and that a lack of education does not excuse him from taking responsibility for his actions. Based on the facts that Nicolas Guaman managed to enter the US illegally, live here, have a family, found housing, found work as a roofer, managed to figure out how to get to the various job sites, financed a truck, cared for his son, and drove his wife to and from work prove that he is competent. He also has had multiple other criminal charges against him, he is not a newbie to the court system and the judge always asks the defendant do you understand the charges, your right to representation and the penalty that is given and each time he agreed that he understood. The second mental competency evaluation is still in progress. The preliminary finding based on the brief amount of time the psychiatrist had with Guaman was the he was mentally incompetent. The psychiatrist requested additional time to perform a more in depth evaluation. I am confident that Guaman will not be able to continue with his incompetency charade and that the final evaluation will determine that he is competent. (cont below)
Maureen Maloney June 30, 2012 at 04:08 AM
I can't bear to think that the man that killed my son could be released into society. Not only will it be a total injustice but if he is truly mentally incompetent and incapable of understanding that he killed someone, what would stop him from drinking, driving and fleeing the scene again????
Tippy Doodle June 30, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I am so angry with this whole situation. What a joke. if he is released with no consequences for his actions, he will need to run because he will not be able to hide. I hope this coward is never to be found in a vehicle again, except maybe in a trunk.
Kathy January 08, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Per "Justice For Matt" The mental competency hearing for Nicolas Guaman is tomorrow 1/8 at 11:00, Worcester Superior Court.

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