Jury finds man mentally competent in “bunker killings” case

The man charged in the killing of a High Desert couple at an abandoned military bunker in 2008 has been found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday in the trial for Collin Lee McGlaughlin of West Covina after receiving the case for deliberation a day earlier, in Victorville Superior Court, according to court records.

McGlaughlin, 21, returns to court Jan.27. He’s accused of shooting to death Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Bodhi Sherzer-Potter, following a party at the bunker near Helendale.
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Mental competency trial begins for man in High Desert bunker killings

VICTORVILLE — A pair of mental health experts may have concluded that a West Covina man accused of the execution-style slayings of a young High Desert couple at an abandoned military bunker is mentally competent to go trial for the killings, say lawyers.
But the decision about Collin Lee McGlaughlin’s present mental competence won’t be up to the experts.

A jury began hearing witness testimony Wednesday as a trial began in Victorville Superior Court to determine whether McGlaughlin is compentent to go trial for the 2008 deaths of Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter of Helendale.

The jury will decide whether McGlaughlin is mentally competent now, not his state of mind when the crimes occurred.

But before any witnesses testified Wednesday, lawyers for both sides delivered their opening remarks. McGlaughlin is presumed competent, and it’s up to the defense to prove otherwise.
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Mental competency trial starts for defendant in slayings of High Desert couple

VICTORVILLE – A jury will begin hearing evidence Wednesday in the mental competency trial for a West Covina man accused of the execution-style killings of a young man and woman in 2008 at an abandoned military bunker near Helendale.

Lawyers in the trial for Collin McGlaughlin spent Monday arguing pretrial motions, deciding whether some evidence could be used at trial and selecting a jury. Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by testimony Wednesday in Victorville Superior Court.

The issue before jurors is whether McGlaughlin has the necessary mental competency to go to trial again later where he will face murder charges – and the possible death penalty – in the shooting deaths of Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Bodhisattva “Bodhi” Sherzer-Potter of Helendale.
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No charges will be filed against grandmother for leaving child in car

Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against a Victorville grandmother and her friend, who were arrested last month after her 11-month-old grandson was found inside a hot car they drove to a wedding reception.

The decision not to file criminal charges against Maria Davila, 56, came Friday from prosecutors at the District Attorney’s Office in Victorville.

“There was insufficient evidence to support the filing of charges,” said Chris Lee, a District Attorney’s spokesman. He could not say anything further about the case.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Davila and her friend, Margarita Simbana, 51, of Los Angeles, on Sept. 3 on suspicion of child cruelty after the little boy was plucked from a car seat inside the sweltering vehicle.

The outdoor temperature that day was about 97 degrees, and the grandmother had been entrusted with watching with the little boy, say sheriff’s officials.

Davila and Simbana were attending a reception at the Social House in the 12100 block of Cottonwood Avenue. Deputies say the child’s parents were also at the reception.

Lawyer James Terrell accompanied Davila and the child’s mother, Alma Medina, on Wednesday while she said the incident was a miscommunication and that Davila did not know the child was placed in the car, according to a report in a High Desert newspaper.

Terrell did not return a phone call nor email requesting comment.

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Decision expected soon in case of Victorville grandmother

Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 04:46:49 PM PDT

Prosecutors in the High Desert could reach a decision as early as today about whether to charge a Victorville woman accused of leaving her 11-month grandson in a hot car while she attended a wedding reception.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Maria Davila, 56, on Sept. 3 on suspicion of child cruelty after the little boy was plucked from a car seat inside the sweltering vehicle.

The outdoor temperature that day was about 97 degrees, and the grandmother had been entrusted with watching with the little boy, say sheriff’s officials.

The decision whether to charge Davila could come today or Monday, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jim Hill.
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