At Courthouse: Trial date set for Ajo murder suspect

2011-04-05T09:13:00Z 2011-04-05T09:21:57Z At Courthouse: Trial date set for Ajo murder suspectBy Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
April 05, 2011 9:13 am  • 

Loretto "Kyle" Alegria, the young man who believes he should be executed for raping and murdering a 7-year-old Ajo girl will be going to trial in October.

Judge Deborah Bernini set aside four weeks for Alegria's trial Monday, starting Oct. 18.

If convicted,  prosecutors will seek the death penalty in Rhia Almeida's June 2009 slaying.

Rhia was beaten and stabbed to death when she went to visit Alegria's little brother to play, authorities say.

Her body was found in a wash behind Alegria's home by two girls riding their bicycles two hours after Rhia left home.

When Alegria goes to trial, he'll be going with two new attorneys. 

Darlene Edminson-O'Brien and Walter Palser have been replaced by Don Klein and Brian Metcalf. The switch occurred after Alegria refused to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence recently, saying he deserves to die instead.

All four attorneys work for the public defender's office.

Metcalf told Judge Bernini yesterday that Alegria's IQ is 73, give or take four points. Since one must have an IQ of at least 75 to be executed, Alegria may not be eligible for the death penalty.

Alegria is suffering from clinical depression with psychotic features, a low IQ and neurological deficits, Metcalf said.

That being the case, it's difficult to tell if Alegria is receiving and processing information normally and/or is capable of making rational decisions, Metcalf said.

Additional testing will be needed, the defense attorney told the judge.

 

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