A doctor will evaluate the mental fitness of a former Sacramento youth mentor accused of killing his disabled boarder in February, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ordered.
Ronald Montez faces a charge of murder with special circumstances in the Feb. 12 stabbing death of Arthur Rodriguez, 60, at his home near Fruitridge and Emerson roads. Montez’s attorney, Jennifer Mouzis, declared doubt as to Montez’s sanity at the Thursday morning hearing before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gary Ransom, calling for doctors to examine her client.
The request suspends criminal proceedings until an evaluation is complete. Ransom set an Aug. 25 court date to hear the results of the doctor’s findings.
Sacramento police on Feb. 12 questioned Montez at a local hospital where he was being treated for stab wounds when he mentioned an assault victim at his home in south Sacramento, police officials said.
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That led officers to Rodriguez, who was found dead under a tarp in the home’s driveway, according to Bee reports.
Investigators say Rodriguez lived with Montez in a white home behind an iron fence near the intersection of Emerson and Fruitridge roads in south Sacramento. Rodriguez relied on disability income, but the nature of his condition is not publicly known.
Montez was Rodriguez’s caretaker and took control of Rodriguez’s Social Security income sometime between 2014 and 2015, Angela Mency-Allen, who managed Rodriguez’s money through a professional payee service, told The Sacramento Bee in March.
“This is a very horribly sad story. There’s a ‘rest of the story,’ ” said Mouzis following the brief Thursday hearing, pointing to In-Home Supportive Services, or IHSS. Mouzis said her client was Rodriguez’s caretaker through the county agency, which is designed to allow people to receive care in their home.
“We need to take a better look at mental health in this community,” Mouzis said. “This was very preventable.”
Officials for Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees IHSS, said in a statement that state statutes prevent IHSS from releasing details on providers and recipients of care, but that care provider applicants undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks before being enrolled and paid as an IHSS provider.
Montez was frequently in trouble with the law in the 1980s and 1990s, with Sacramento Superior Court records showing he was convicted nine times on mostly drug and misdemeanor violent offenses.
But the former gang member had turned himself around in later years, drawing on his criminal past to turn local youths away from trouble.
He became the executive director of California Gang Violence Prevention Services, which had an office in Elk Grove, and provided mentorships to youths at local schools.
He had hoped to obtain a “Certificate of Rehabilitation” in Sacramento Superior Court after nearly two decades without a conviction, and, according to a Bee story in March, spoke to city councils in support of a tax to fund gang reduction efforts. He was nominated for county honors for his advocacy efforts.
But on New Year’s Day 2014, Montez waved a loaded gun in front of another man “in a rude, angry and threatening manner,” court records state. He was also accused of having drug paraphernalia. Montez pleaded no contest to the weapons charge and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation, effectively ending his chances of receiving the “Certificate of Rehabilitation” from Superior Court.