The 21-year-old man charged with stabbing three Davis residents, killing two of them, will undergo a psychiatric assessment at the request of the public defender representing him.
Criminal proceedings will now be suspended as Carlos Reales Dominguez is examined by a court-appointed psychiatrist, who will determine whether the former UC Davis student is mentally capable of understanding what is happening in the case.
“It is my firm belief that my client is not mentally competent,” public defender Daniel Hutchinson told Judge Samuel T. McAdam.
McAdam ordered the court to move forward with competency proceedings.
On May 4, Dominguez was arrested and charged with killing 50-year-old David Breaux and 20-year-old Karim Abou Najm and critically injuring 64-year-old Kimberlee Guillory during a spate of separate stabbings that shocked the college town. Dominguez had been a UC Davis student, but University officials said in a statement that he was “separated” from the university for academic reasons a few days before the attacks began.
During the hearing, Dominguez, who is being held without bail, wore a green safety vest and orange sandals, his shoulder-length black hair partially covering his face. He tried to interject multiple times as his attorney and the judge discussed scheduling a new hearing.
Before being ushered out of the courtroom, Dominguez spoke again: “Can I say something? I don’t want an attorney, I would like to take it by myself if possible.”
McAdam did not respond to Dominguez. Instead, he told Hutchinson that, since criminal proceedings had been suspended, “I’m going to let you handle communications with your client for now.”
Members of at least two victims’ families were present.
Six people wearing matching shirts with images of Karim Abou Najm on them sat together in the courtroom. One was Najm’s father, UC Davis associate professor Majdi Abou Najm. The younger Najm was a Davis High graduate, and was weeks away from graduating from UC Davis when he was stabbed to death in Sycamore Park on the night of April 29.
Some who knew David Breaux were also present, including his sister Maria. Breaux, who was unhoused, was found with fatal stab wounds on a Central Park bench on April 27.
Kari Peterson is a Davis resident who said she had a 12-year friendship with Breaux, during which she helped him proofread his first book and worked with him on the Compassion Bench project that helped dub him “Compassion Guy” around town.
She said she felt Breaux as she sat in the courtroom and knew he’d want her to have compassion for Dominguez.
“I'm also the mother of a son who is about that age. And I think about the family. I think about his mother. I think about that kid who's clearly messed up,” she said. “And I just keep hearing David saying, ‘you know, we've got to look at things through that lens of compassion.’”
Peterson said she’s glad Dominguez is being assessed and hopes for justice and accountability for Breaux.
The results of Dominguez’s psychiatric assessment will be shared on June 20 during his next scheduled hearing.
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