Crime - Sacto 911

He thinks God will protect him. His lawyers say he’s insane.

Shooting rampage unfolds across Sacramento region

Luis Bracamontes is accused of killing deputies Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in a daylong shooting rampage on Oct. 24, 2014.
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Luis Bracamontes is accused of killing deputies Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in a daylong shooting rampage on Oct. 24, 2014.

Luis Bracamontes has blurted out in court that he killed two Sacramento-area deputies back in 2014, and threatened to do the same to his lawyers.

He’s made wisecracks to the judge handling his death penalty case, and told psychologists that God will interfere with any attempt to execute him, turning lethal injection poisons into vitamins.

His attorneys say they have an explanation for his outbursts: He’s insane.

In a motion to be argued in Sacramento Superior Court next week, Bracamontes’ public defenders are asking for permission to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, despite their client’s desire to plead guilty and face the consequences.

“Mr. Bracamontes does not meaningfully comprehend the potential consequences of a death penalty trial,” public defenders Norm Dawson and Jeffrey Barbour wrote in their motion. “He is not seeking to plead guilty because he wishes to take full responsibility and be punished for his actions.

“He is seeking an expedited resolution to the proceedings because he believes he cannot be killed.”

Prosecutor Rod Norgaard isn’t buying it, writing in an opposing motion that Judge Steve White already has found Bracamontes fit to stand trial and that “the defendant’s beliefs regarding the death penalty and the defendant’s desire to plead guilty were not a product of a delusional thought process.”

The effort to introduce an insanity plea is the latest twist in a case that has produced a series of bizarre statements and outbursts since Bracamontes and his wife were arrested in the October 2014 slayings of Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr.

Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen with a history of drug and weapons charges, had been deported at least twice and was in the United States illegally at the time of the bloody rampage, which began at a Motel 6 near Arden Fair Mall and ended near Auburn.

The case has received so much notice that a three-day hearing has been scheduled starting Monday on whether the trial, now scheduled to start in October, should be moved to another county.

Whether you’ll get to read anything about what happens during the change of venue hearing depends on the judge, who must also rule on a defense request that he close the hearing and keep the media and the public out.

“The obvious concern is that if a change of venue is not granted, there will be further publicity and prejudice to the rights of Mr. Bracamontes through the reporting of the hearing on the motion to change venue,” his lawyers wrote.

White has rejected three similar requests from the defense in the past, and The Sacramento Bee is filing a motion opposing closure of the proceedings.

Sam Stanton: 916-321-1091, @StantonSam

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