Manslaughter suspect found competent to stand trial — again
VICTORVILLE • A Victorville man who sang in court at earlier hearings was, again, found competent to stand trial for two killings, including a Barstow man.
Leroy Tyus, 22, was evaluated a second time by a doctor who found he understood his charges and the proceedings against him. After considering the report, Victorville Superior Court Judge Jules Fleuret reinstated his criminal charges Wednesday. Tyus is set to appear in court later this month where a judge will determine whether he can withdraw his prior plea agreement with prosecutors.
Tyus pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter in 2010 for the murders of Dustin Diaz, 25, of Barstow and Peter Roth, 53, of Victorville. Prosecutors believe Tyus, Kevin Roach, 23, and Louis Arias, 31, murdered Diaz in 2006. A month later the trio allegedly murdered Roth. Tyus was 15 and Roach 17 at the time of the killings.
In his plea agreement, Tyus agreed to testify against Roach in exchange for 21 years in prison. Arias also pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after the fact, which means he should face 10 years in prison.
With jail credits, Tyus could be out of prison in 10 years if the plea is kept in place, said his attorney Brian Skibby. If he fights the charges in trial, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Tyus’s first medical evaluation was discussed in court in March where he was found competent after he refused to speak to the doctor, Skibby said. In June, the court questioned his mental fitness a second time after he reportedly sang in court. This time he spoke to a second doctor who, again, found him competent.
A hearing on his plea withdrawal is scheduled for Sept. 25 in Victorville Superior Court.
Arias is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2013. Roach does not have any scheduled court hearings, though he still faces both murder charges, an attempted robbery charge and several special allegations.
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