Court-appointed doctors are divided on whether a 22-year-old transient accused of trying to rape a woman crossing the San Mateo Caltrain Station’s underground stairs on a Sunday night last fall is mentally fit to stand trial on several felonies.
With one doctor squarely on each side of the decision, a judge appointed a third tie-breaker to determine if Fernando Chamale-Boch is able to aid his defense attorney against charges of kidnapping with the intent to rape, assault with the intent to rape, false imprisonment and battery.
San Mateo police arrested Chamale-Boch Oct. 20 after responding to a woman’s 911 call for help. The woman said she spotted a man later identified as Chamale-Boch standing in a dark hallway as she approached the stairwell about 7 p.m. that night and turned to go but was grabbed. The suspect covered her mouth as she screamed, and pulled her six feet down the stairs as she punched and scratched at his face. After she fought herself free, she called police who found him nearby later that night with scratches on his face.
Chamale-Boch has pleaded not guilty to the charges but his defense attorney raised a doubt about his competency before a preliminary hearing.
Competency is a person’s ability to aid in his or her own defense unlike sanity which is a mental state at the time of an alleged crime. If Chamale-Boch is deemed incompetent, he will be committed to a state mental facility for treatment.
He remains in custody on $2 million bail.