SAN DIEGO — A man accused of fatally shooting his ex-boss at the victim’s Point Loma auto repair shop more than seven years ago isn’t mentally competent to stand trial for murder, a judge ruled Tuesday.
After hearing testimony from two doctors, Judge Laura Halgren found that 54-year-old Nicolas Brito Rosales was unable to understand the charges against him and assist his attorney at trial.
Rosales — who is charged in the April 19, 2011, death of 63-year-old Jalal “Joe” Abou — will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment until his competency is deemed restored.
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 peforming 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 of murdering Abou.