A Sherman man charged with killing his wife was recently found incompetent to stand trial for the crime.
On July 25, Judge Rim Nall, 59th District Court, signed an order finding Candelario Luna, 64, incompetent to stand trial for the November 2012 murder of his common law wife, Maria Sanchez. Nall ordered Luna committed to the North Texas State Hospital in Wichita Falls for mental observation and treatment with the goal of restoring Luna’s competency to stand trial.
“Two psychologist have evaluated Mr. Luna,” said Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown in a preparred statement. “One of the psychologists was appointed by the Court, and one the District Attorney’s Office hired. Both found Mr. Luna to be currently mentally incompetent. If a defendant is legally incompetent, that means that it has been determined that he either cannot rationally communicate with his lawyer and help with his defense, or he is not capable of understanding the factual basis of the charge against him.”
“Legal competency is different than a finding that a person was insane. The sanity question looks at whether a person who commits a crime knew that their behavior was wrong at the time of the offense. If they didn’t know it was wrong, they are legally insane, and therefore not guilty by reason of insanity. That question – of whether Luna was sane or not - has not been addressed. He has only been found incompetent to stand trial. And that finding can change. Mr. Luna will receive mental health treatment for up to 180 day in a state hospital, and if the doctors there determine that he becomes competent, then he will be brought back to stand trial. We believe that will happen, and we still intend to try Mr. Luna for murder. If the doctors at the state hospital determine that, in their opinion, Mr. Luna will not ever be restored to competency, then the judge can issue a civil order of mental commitment. In that case, he can be released if doctors and the court later find that he is no longer a danger to others. We do not want that to happen, so our office will be contesting the competency finding, if we have the medical evidence to do it.”
On November 26, 2012, Sherman police responded to a 911 call that a woman had been shot at a home in the 500 block of South Willow. Responding officers found 59-year-old Maria Luisa Sanchez dead on the kitchen floor, shot three times with a .22 caliber firearm. Family members directed police to Candelario Luna, who they suspected in the death. Officers found Luna at a Mexican restaurant, and after interviewing him, arrested him for murder.
“We certainly don’t think this case is over,” said Brown. “Andre Thomas was found mentally incompetent before trial too, and he was ultimately brought back and convicted. We expect this is a temporary delay.”
Luna is represented by Sherman attorney John Hunter Smith.