Crime - Sacto 911

Suspect in 3-year-old’s death refuses mental exam

Untwan Smith has refused to see doctors seeking to determine whether the Arkansas man is mentally fit to continue criminal proceedings in the death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter at a Rancho Cordova park.

Smith and girlfriend Angela Phakhin, 28, remain in Sacramento County custody on murder charges in the death of the girl whose body was found by police June 28 inside the couple’s sport utility vehicle at the entrance to River Bend Park. The couple and child traveled to California from Arkansas, authorities said, and had been living in the SUV for months at the time of the girl’s death.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge on Dec. 7 put a halt to Smith’s criminal proceedings after defense attorney Alan Whisenant declared a doubt as to the 46-year-old Smith’s competency. Smith refused to attend that hearing and on Thursday attorney Whisenant said Smith has twice refused to meet with court-appointed physicians to determine his mental fitness.

Whisenant told visiting Sacramento Superior Court Judge Joseph Orr that he planned to meet with Smith in Sacramento County Main Jail “to see if I can establish a better rapport with him.”

Whisenant said he did not expect doctors to produce a report by Smith’s next court date, scheduled for Jan. 4.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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