Charges Against Cpl. Singh's Killer On Hold, Defense Claims He's Incompetent

The man who allegedly murdered Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh must have a court-ordered mental evaluation.

By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin

Newman, CA – A California judge ordered a mental health evaluation of the alleged cop killer who took the life of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh on Dec. 26, 2018.

Gustavo Perez Arriaga, whose real name is actually Paulo Virgen Mendoza, appeared before Judge Ricardo Córdova and did not enter a plea on Wednesday, the Modesto Bee reported.

Instead, his court-appointed attorney, Stephen Foley, told the judge that he had doubts about the 32-year-old Mendoza’s mental competency based on his conversation with his client.

The judge ordered an evaluation to determine whether Mendoza can understand the court proceedings and assist in his own defense. The case cannot continue until the defendant is declared mentally competent.

Córdova gave Mendoza’s attorney five weeks to submit a doctor’s report to the court, during which time he will remain held without bail in the Stanislaus County jail, the Modesto Bee reported.

The fatal altercation began at 12:57 a.m. on the day after Christmas, when Cpl. Singh checked out on a traffic stop at Eucalyptus Avenue and Merced Street.

Just moments later, he radioed there had been “shots fired” at the scene, and officers from multiple agencies immediately responded to his location.

They found Cpl. Singh, 33, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The then unidentified suspect fled the scene prior to the other officers’ arrival, leading to a massive multi-agency manhunt.

Kern County Sheriff’s Office deputies apprehended Mendoza at a home in Bakersfield, approximately 200 miles into his journey back to his home country of Mexico, NBC News reported.

Investigators had been watching the residence for at least 24 hours prior, after they tracked a vehicle to that location.

In a separate press conference, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood announced that police also arrested another four individuals, including a woman said to be Mendoza’s girlfriend and two of his brothers.

Adrian Virgen, Mendoza’s brother, and co-worker Erik Razo Quiroz were arrested as accomplices, according to police. Conrado Virgen Mendoza, another brother to Mendoza, and Mendoza’s girlfriend Ana Leyde Cervantes were arrested Friday for helping Mendoza evade police, ABC reported.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said three other people were also arrested in South Valley for aiding and abetting Mendoza.

"When you use a firearm against a police officer, you can run, but you can’t hide," Sheriff Youngblood said.

"No stone will be unturned for anyone we have information on that helped this suspect try and elude capture,” he added. “We will go after them.”

Sheriff Christianson had previously announced that Cpl. Singh’s killer is an illegal alien.

“That was his goal – to get across the border,” the sheriff reiterated.

Mendoza has self-promoted his status as a member of the Sureno street gang, and has two prior drunk driving convictions in Madera County, Sheriff Christianson said.

“This criminal, Mr. Arriaga, crossed our border illegally into Arizona some time ago,” he explained. “He is a criminal…past behavior is typically an indicator of future behavior.”

Police have also arrested the accused cop-killer’s brother, 25-year-old Adrian Virgen, and Mendoza’s coworker, 27-year-old Erik Razo Quiroz, for their role in helping Mendoza in his attempt to escape from the United States.

“They intentionally lied to us,” Sheriff Christianson said during the conference. “They tried to divert us… they misled us, they provided information that was false, all in an attempt to protect [Mendoza].”

Quiroz and Virgen are both illegal aliens as well, he confirmed.

On Jan. 2, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning filed a criminal complaint against the alleged cop killer.

Mendoza is facing a charge of murder with a special circumstances enhancement that makes the case eligible for the death penalty, should they choose to seek it, the Modesto Bee reported.

Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mangar told the judge the district attorney’s office has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of the courthouse in support of law enforcement on Wednesday morning as the fallen officer’s family arrived for Mendoza’s arraignment.

Cpl. Singh, a native of Fiji, had served the Newman Police Department for over seven years.

He was also a K9 handler, and was partnered up with Newman Police Department’s K9 Sam at the time of his murder, according to The Sacramento Bee.

He previously served with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department and the Turlock Police Department, The Modesto Bee reported.

Comments
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MrsS
MrsS

Four defendants accused of helping a man evade capture after the shooting death of Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh are scheduled to return to Stanislaus Superior Court Thursday, so local authorities can turn them over to federal officials.

Paulo Virgen Mendoza has been charged with murder in Singh’s death. Mendoza is accused of killing Singh during a Dec. 26 traffic stop in Newman. Mendoza is still identified in court and jail records as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, an alias.

Mendoza’s girlfriend Ana Leyde Cervantes, his brothers Conrado Virgen Mendoza, and Adrian Virgen, and his co-worker Erik Razo Quiroz have pleaded not guilty to felony accessory charges in Stanislaus County.

He said in an e-mail that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will take over the prosecution of the defendants since they “face a more serious punishment under federal laws than what California’s newly revised criminal justice statutes allow.”

Mangar also said the prosecution of Mendoza in the murder case will remain in Stanislaus County. Mendoza on Wednesday remained in custody without bail in Stanislaus County. He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 7.

Earlier this week, the three accessory defendants arrested in Kern County were turned over to federal authorities, the Bakersfield Californian reported. Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda and Maria Luisa Moreno and Erasmo Villegas were arrested, along with Mendoza days after the deadly shooting.

The Kern County District Attorney’s Office also chose to drop their local accessory charges because the defendants face more serious punishment under federal law. Under Assembly Bill 109, convictions on a charge of being an accessory to any crime — including murder — are no longer eligible for state prison terms, only local jail terms, the Bakersfiled Californian reported.

qazwiz
qazwiz

QUOTE "eligible for the death penalty, should they choose to seek it" UNQUOTE

is there really ANY question about seeking death penalty? didn't i hear he had been deported twice before? only one way to guarantee he won't return again....

Dmoe63
Dmoe63

Its a public defender so they have no choice under oath but to do their job. It sucks but that is the way it works. I don't think he should have any rights at all.m

MsSavage
MsSavage

One of our local officer's (Adam Jobbers-Miller) was murdered while on duty by an illegal immigrant whose attorney is saying the same. They should not have ANY rights, let alone our tax dollars paying for all their b.s.

Milman
Milman

Not sure who I despise more . This perp or his "attorneys"!! This animal knew exactly what he was doing California.... Figures.