Local News

Tuesday, Jan 08 2013 11:58 AM

Competency trial scheduled for defendant accused of sexually assaulting daughter

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A trial has been scheduled to determine the mental competency of a man accused of raping his young daughter and leaving her to die in a field in July 2011.

A doctor has found Ray Salvador Coriell competent "for most purposes," said Michael C. Lukehart, Coriell's attorney. But Lukehart requested the competency trial Tuesday morning in Kern County Superior Court because he has concerns about the defendant's ability to rationally cooperate with counsel.

Lukehart said there's evidence Coriell, 30, has suffered "cerebral trauma" in his life. The attorney said he hasn't yet decided whether to ask for a trial by judge or jury.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said Tuesday afternoon it's not uncommon for trials to be held to determine mental competency.

Coriell's competency trial is scheduled for March 4.

Coriell's arrest capped an anxious two days in which residents in his central Bakersfield neighborhood believed a prowler had abducted Coriell's then-7-year-old daughter at random. The girl was taken from her home and found hours later nine miles away in east Bakersfield.

She had been sexually assaulted and placed under a couch in a dirt field, according to Kern County sheriff's deputies.

The day after the abduction, July 28, Coriell texted his wife and indicated he might harm himself, court records show. A SWAT standoff ensued, and Coriell eventually surrendered.

Coriell told detectives he was raped for several years by a relative beginning when he was 9 years old, sheriff's department reports filed in court say. He told the detectives he hears voices all the time and sometimes blacks out and doesn't remember what he's done.

Coriell is charged with 11 felonies, including attempted murder, rape of a child under 14 years of age and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

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