Judge expected to rule on competency of murder defendant

SAN DIEGO —  A decision is expected Tuesday on whether a man accused of fatally shooting his ex-boss at the victim’s Point Loma auto repair shop more than seven years ago is mentally competent to stand trial for murder.

Judge Laura Halgren heard three days of testimony on whether Nicolas Brito Rosales understands the charges against him and can assist his attorney at a criminal trial.

Rosales, 54, is charged in the April 19, 2011 death of 63-year-old Jalal “Joe” Abou.

Patrol officers responding to reports of gunfire about 7:30 a.m. found Abou lying in a parking lot at his Rosecrans Street business, Joe’s Auto Repair, with several good Samaritans performing CPR on him.

Paramedics took over the lifesaving attempts before pronouncing Abou — an Iraq native and father of three who lived in Rancho San Diego — dead at the scene.

Witnesses told investigators they had seen a man parked near the auto repair business in a dark green sedan with primer spots on it prior to the shooting and spotted him driving away immediately afterward.

Rosales had left his job at the victim’s business the previous October. Police declined to say whether Rosales quit or was fired, but did say he returned to the garage several times between the date of his termination and the slaying.

In September of last year, Rosales was released from a Mexican prison and turned over to U.S. authorities. It was not clear why he was incarcerated in Mexico.

Rosales faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

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