LAS VEGAS, NV — On March 25th of this year, Las Vegas took the headlines for a shootout on a double decker bus on the strip.
The suspect was 55-year-old Fil-Am Rolando Cardenas. Cardenas opened fire inside the bus that, killing Gary Brietling and wounding Jason Ellis, another passenger on the bus.
Police and Cardenas spent hours in a standoff, causing a major delay for tourists and employees trying to get home.
Metro says that Cardenas opened fire for no apparent reason.
During the preliminary hearing, Cardenas’ public defense already raised the question of his mental state and competency.
The court ruled Cardenas unfit to stand trial, and mentally incompetent.
In the US, every defendant has a right to a hearing to determine if he or she is fit to stand trial.
All trial courts have authority to order psychological evaluations of defendants, but here in Nevada, once a party raises the competency issue, evaluations commence.
In Cardenas’ case, authorities report that Cardenas was already showing signs of mental disorder during the negotiation and after the arrest.
Fil-Am defense attorney Gwynne Dumbrigue says that in cases like Cardenas,’ he will be referred to a competency court and to a psychologist.
“The Constitution requires a fair trial, so if there’s any doubt that a defendant maybe incompetent or have a mental disability, that impedes a fair trial, so in this case this is normal,” said Dumbrigue.
For now, Cardenas will remain at Lake’s crossing center, a mental facility in Sparks, Nevada.