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Woman accused of torching bed found mentally fit again
May 02, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Jacqueline Rivera

The Redwood City woman who was committed rather than tried for allegedly torching an ex-boyfriend’s bed while he slept in 2012 is headed back to San Mateo County after hospital doctors concluded she is now mentally competent for prosecution.

Jacqueline Alexandra Rivera, 20, will now stand trial on charges of attempted murder, arson and residential burglary. Doctors at the California Psychiatric Transitional Facility deemed her mentally competent and both defense attorney Charles B. Smith and the prosecution agreed.

Competency is a person’s mental ability to aid in his or her own defense unlike sanity which is a mental state at the time of an alleged crime.

In Rivera’s case, that alleged incident occurred around 3 a.m. April 26, 2012, when she reportedly knocked on the first-floor bedroom window of the San Mateo home where her 21-year-old boyfriend lived with his parents and sister. She reportedly asked to talk about their relationship, was denied and returned with the same request an hour later. After she left the second time, the man went to bed but told authorities he awoke around 5:45 a.m. to find his mattress on fire. He screamed for his father who put out the flames with a garden hose. The victim later told authorities he did not immediately alert police or firefighters because he believed Rivera was responsible but didn’t think he could prove it. Two weeks later, the man said he received a text message from a woman, later identified as Rivera’s friend, who told him the defendant was responsible for the fire and had made several comments about plans to hurt him.

That August, Smith questioned his client’s competency and two of three court-appointed doctors agreed she required hospitalization rather than incarceration.

She remains in custody on $500,000 bail and is due in court next week.

michelle@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

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