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Competency hearing set for double murder suspect

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The man accused of killing his girlfriend and her grandfather in Las Vegas, New Mexico, earlier this month – livestreaming at least one of the deaths on Facebook – is set to have a competency hearing in state District Court to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial.

Alejandro Alirez

Alejandro Alirez, 23, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer and shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied building.

Las Vegas Magistrate Judge Melanie Rivera on Monday ordered the case to 4th Judicial District Court for a competency determination.

Alirez is accused of barricading himself in a residence on Peggy Lee Lane in Las Vegas and fatally shooting his girlfriend, Cristal Cervantes, and her grandfather, Victor Cervantes, on Nov. 8. Alirez claimed the two were molesting him and his niece.

According to court documents, Alirez has refused to come out of his jail cell for hearings and has threatened to break a computer. “I believe the defendant has no remorse and shows no sympathy for his alleged actions. The court believes there may (be) mental health issues,” Rivera’s order says.

“Mr. Alirez’s due process rights grant him access to an assessment to determine if he is able to fully participate in and understand these court proceedings,” defense attorney Todd Farkas said in an email.

Farkas said that if Alirez is found competent by an evaluation, he will likely file objections and hire his own expert to evaluate Alirez.

This isn’t the first time competency issues were raised with Alirez. He was found incompetent in a bank robbery case in Pueblo, Colorado, in 2017 and in a robbery attempt in Taos in 2018.

In the Taos case, Alirez was ordered to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas for treatment. His mother previously told the Taos News that Alirez suffered from a grand mal seizure when he was 19 that left him with brain damage.