Trial set for child murder suspect who is finally deemed competent

2013-02-27T10:38:00Z 2013-02-27T11:06:49Z Trial set for child murder suspect who is finally deemed competentKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 27, 2013 10:38 am  • 

An Ajo man accused of raping and killing a little girl nearly four years ago has finally been deemed competent to stand trial, but whether he or not he is eligible for the death penalty is still up for debate.

Loretto "Kyle" Alegria, 23, is accused of raping, beating and stabbing 7-year-old Rhia Almeida to death in June 2009 when she came to his house to visit his little brother.

Prosecutors offered him a deal in February 2011 that not only would've spared everyone the pain of a trial, but it would've taken the death penalty off the table.

Alegria rejected the plea, however, and that led to questions about Alegria's mental well-being and acuity.

Doctor after doctor was sent to the jail to visit with Alegria and Judge Deborah Bernini deemed Alegria incompetent to stand trial in April 2012 after hearing from those doctors. 

Alegria has spent the last nine or 10 months in a restoration program and Judge Bernini deemed him ready to go to trial a couple of weeks ago.

She also scheduled what's known as an Atkins hearing for April 1.

At that hearing, doctors will testify as to whether they think Alegria is intellectually disabled, if he was intellectually disabled prior to the age of 18 and if he has any issues performing normal day-to-day activities.

If Alegria meets all of those requirements, the judge could decide he's not eligible for the death penalty.

Judge Bernini scheduled Alegria's trial for Sept. 10.











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