Crime - Sacto 911

Doctors to decide if man, 91, is competent for trial in wife’s death

Masaharu Ono was arraigned for the killing of his wife, Hiroko, 83 on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif.
Masaharu Ono was arraigned for the killing of his wife, Hiroko, 83 on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Andrew Seng

A pair of doctors will determine whether Masaharu Ono is competent to stand trial for murder in his wife’s June 2014 killing.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge will hear the physicians’ findings on the 91-year-old Sacramento man’s mental state in September.

Ono marked his 91st birthday in June and remains the oldest inmate in Sacramento County Main Jail by nearly 10 years, according to jail custody logs. Ono is being held without bail on the jail’s medical floor. His next court date is Sept. 15 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Bunmi O. Awoniyi.

Ono’s attorney, Sacramento County Deputy Public Defender Norm Dawson, expressed doubt at a Thursday hearing as to Ono’s ability to stand trial.

Little more than two years ago, in June 2014, Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies rushed to the south Sacramento mobile home Ono shared with wife, Hiroko, 83, after a 911 call from the park’s manager. Hiroko Ono lay dead in one of the rooms, investigators said. Medical examiners said she had been stabbed to death.

Sacramento County district attorney’s prosecutors would later say Masaharu Ono initially denied stabbing his wife, but later told authorities he dragged his wife’s body into their bedroom before covering it with a blanket.

In the nearly two years since the June 2014 slaying, questions had arisen over the nonagenarian’s mental state. Neighbors and a family member described Ono as “gentle,” and said the couple rarely fought.

But a neighbor at the south Sacramento mobile home park said he believed the Onos appeared to show signs of dementia. Sacramento County’s adult protective services officials were contacted regarding the Onos’ welfare in the months before Hiroko Ono’s death, Sacramento County Deputy Public Defender John Perkins said at an August 2015 hearing.

County adult protective services officials would neither confirm nor deny that the agency provided services to the Onos.

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