By Andy Furillo
A Sacramento judge today declared a 58-year-old man about to go on trial for murder as incompetent to assist in his own defense and scheduled a hearing for next month to determine the defendant's placement options.
Robert Lee Blockton had been charged with murder in the Nov. 3, 1980, stabbing death of Charles Redmond, 22, described by authorites as a transvestite prostitute. A night watchman initially identified Blockton as walking away from the scene of the stabbing but testified "I don't know" at a preliminary hearing to pick out the defendant again, court records said. Charges were then dismissed on Blockton due to insufficient evidence, according to his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Sue Karlton.
DNA tests prompted Sacramento prosecutors to charge Blockton last year in the Redmond killling.
Sacramento Superior Court online records show nine criminal filings on Blockton since 1980 and before his 2010 arrest.
The murder case had been assigned to Judge Gary S. Mullen, who based his ruling today on three doctor's reports. They concluded that Blockton -- as a result of a stroke he suffered in 2003 -- is not able to assist in his own defense.
Blockton will now be evaluated by the county's Conditional Release Program. Its recommendations on Blockton's placement will be aired at a Dec. 20 hearing in front of Mullen.