BRIGHAM CITY — The waiting continues in the case of a Box Elder County man charged in the March 3, 2019, stabbing death of his girlfriend.
“There’s no magic cure-all,” defense attorney Michael Studebaker said Thursday of the mental health hospitalization of his client, Jose Gutierrez-Torres.
The 41-year-old Bothwell man is charged with first-degree felony murder and class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon.
Police said in a probable cause statement that Gutierrez-Torres stabbed Maria De Jesus Cervantes, 53, multiple times in the neck, then stabbed himself in the throat.
Officers said Gutierrez-Torres was “covered in blood” when they arrived, alerted by relatives of the woman. They found a steak knife near the body.
In July 2019, Studebaker sought the 1st District Court’s approval for an evaluation to determine his client’s mental competency to stand trial.
Doctors at the Utah State Hospital found Gutierrez-Torres incompetent, and on Nov. 4, Judge Brandon Maynard approved an order transferring him to the Provo institution for treatment.
Based on the hospital’s report, “there is a probability that he can be restored to competency,” the judge said.
In August this year, after the hospital reported competency restoration remained in progress, Maynard scheduled the next hearing for Feb. 8, 2021.
For prosecution to continue, Gutierrez-Torres “must have the ability to appropriately engage in the defense process,” Studebaker said Thursday.
“Sometimes these things take a while,” he said. “Nothing’s going to happen until we get that report.”
Efforts to contact Brian Duncan, the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office’s deputy attorney prosecuting the case, were not immediately successful.