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New Mexico court denies appeal in pickax killing of father

July 18, 2019

SANA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico Supreme Court ruling Thursday denies a Socorro man’s appeal of a lower court’s order that he be detained for life in a mental health facility for the pickax killing of his father.

Manuel Baca was charged with murder in the 2016 killing of 67-year-old Fidel Baca Sr. but a judge ruled the son was dangerous and not competent to stand trial. The judge then ordered him detained by the state Health Department.

The Supreme Court said the appeal acknowledged that Manuel Baca killed his father but contended a “delusional frenzy” meant he couldn’t form specific intent to commit murder.

However, the justices said premeditated intent could be discerned from circumstances, including the son’s incriminating statements and multiple injuries suggesting the father died after a “prolonged, sustained attack.”

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