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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Serial Murder Suspect Incompetent for Trial

SAN DIEGO (CN) — A state judge found the man accused of going on a serial killing spree of San Diego's homeless this summer — killing three men and attacking two others — to be mentally incompetent to stand trial, ordering him to a state mental hospital instead.

At Friday's hearing, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Steven Stone ordered Jon David Guerrero, 39, to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino for up to three years or until he is found to be competent enough to continue proceedings in the case.

A court-appointed doctor tried to interview Guerrero multiple times, but he would not answer the doctor's questions, Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey told the judge.

Stone also ordered Guerrero medicated with anti-psychotics.

Guerrero is accused of using railroad spikes to attack homeless men at night or in the early morning hours while they were sleeping in public spaces in a murder spree that began over the Fourth of July weekend.

He is charged with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, along with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Most of the men were attacked in or near downtown San Diego.

The first victim, 53-year-old Angelo De Nardo, had railroad spikes driven completely through his head and chest before his body was set on fire near the train tracks in the Clairemont neighborhood.

The second victim, Manuel Mason, 61, survived an early-morning attack. A railroad spike was driven completely through his nasal cavity, and he is now blind, according to Harvey. He added that other victims were also found dead or injured with railroad spikes left next to them.

Guerrero was arrested July 15 after Harbor Police Officers responded to calls of a man who was attacked near downtown. At the time of Guerrero's arrest, he had a backpack and hat that matched those captured by convenience store surveillance camera footage shortly before De Nardo's body was found on fire, according to Harvey.

The backpack contained identification for some of the victims, a metal-headed mallet and three railroad spikes, Harvey said.

Guerrero is represented by public defender Dan Tandon, who did not speak to the media at Friday's hearing.

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