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Milpitas: Accused killer’s mental fitness to stand trial still unclear

Only one of three psychologists who evaluated a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend definitely believes he isn’t competent to stand trial, a Santa Clara County prosecutor said last week.

The other two psychologists’ evaluations of San Jose resident Kevin Nguyen’s competency were inconclusive, Deputy District Attorney Michael Gilman said after a July 20 hearing in the case, held before Superior Court Judge Michele McKay.

Nguyen, 27, is accused of killing Danica Bascos in her Milpitas home in October 2015.

Gilman said that on Sept. 1 the court is expected to set a date for a hearing to determine whether Nguyen is competent to stand trail; records from all three psychologists are to be considered then.

The process for evaluating Nguyen’s competency began in February after his public defender, Kelley Kulick, questioned whether he is fit for trial. Kulick’s motion suspended the criminal proceedings until the court can rule on Nguyen’s competency.

Last July, after a two-day preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Shelyna V. Brown ruled Nguyen should be held to answer for then 20-year-old Bascos’ slaying on Oct. 5, 2015. The judge asserted that based on evidence, surveillance video and witness testimony presented, there was “sufficient probable cause” for a jury trial.

The judge also found there was sufficient evidence that Nguyen previously committed battery against Bascos as well as against her then-boyfriend, John Souza.

During the preliminary hearing, Milpitas police Det. Abbie Serrano testified that Nguyen had Googled “how to kill a person” and the “best way to dispose of a body” before he went to Bascos’ home with the intention of murdering her. Bascos was fatally stabbed in her Manzano Street home near Milpitas High School.

Last Friday, the slain woman’s father, Daniel Bascos, told the Post again he’s convinced Nguyen is not mentally ill and should be tried for killing his only child.

“It’s been very difficult for me and my wife, what we’re going through until now,” Bascos said via text.

Nguyen’s parents and other family members were present at the July 20 hearing. They both waved to their son, clad in a red jumpsuit, as he left the courtroom.

The next court date on Sept. 1 begins 9 a.m. in Department 32 at Santa Clara Hall of Justice, 191 W. Hedding St., San Jose.

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http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/26/milpitas-accused-killers-mental-fitness-to-stand-trial-still-unclear/