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Is Bray Mentally Competent? Question Delays Imperial Beach Homicide Case

Vegas Bray shot Victor Saucedo nine times in his Imperial Beach apartment after a year of stalking and vandalism, a Deputy District Attorney alleges.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. April 24, 2013

Questions of Vegas Bray’s mental health delayed a ruling on whether she would face a first-degree murder charge for allegedly shooting her ex-boyfriend nine times in Imperial Beach last fall, said a District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.

Bray’s competency was brought into question after an outburst in a Chula Vista courtroom Wednesday.

“I can tell you that just after 11 a.m. while a witness was on the stand there was an outburst from Ms. Bray and she left the courtroom,” said Deputy District Attorney Harrison Kennedy.

Bray, 24, is accused of stalking and harassing Victor Saucedo, 31, for a year before he was found dead in his Mariner’s Point apartment in the 300 block of Caspian Way.

Jessica Morales, who knew Bray and Saucedo, was on the witness stand at the time of the outburst, Kennedy said.

While Morales described Bray’s jealousy about Saucedo speaking to other women, Bray interrupted and yelled “I was never jealous!” and “I’m not going down for something I don’t remember doing!” U-T San Diego reported.

Judge Ana Espana was to determine Wednesday whether sufficient evidence existed for Bray to stand trial.

Instead, at the request of Bray’s attorneys, Espana ordered Bray to undergo examination by psychiatrists to determine if she is of sound mind to stand trial, said DA spokeswoman Tanya Sierra.

Kennedy added: “Based on that [mental competency hearing], the case will either resume or it will be put on hold until she is determined competent to stand trial.” 

A mental competency hearing will be held July 8 at the downtown courthouse.

She faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Rubio Santiago testified that his sister, Vegas Bray, called him the day of the murder and said she shot Saucedo, U-T San Diego reported.

“She was out of it, in disbelief; she didn’t even realize what had happened,” Rubio testified.

At Bray’s arraignment last year, Kennedy called the killing “the ultimate act of obsession.”

The prosecutor said Bray and Saucedo met while they were both in the Navy and started dating in 2010.

The relationship lasted for several months and ended toward the later part of 2011, Kennedy said.

He said the couple broke up because the defendant was jealous of the mother of Saucedo’s child, and she continued to pursue him after they broke up.

Bray committed seven acts of vandalism against Saucedo’s car and apartment, including popping his car tires, throwing paint on his door, smearing peanut butter on his door, and even tracking him down after he changed apartments, the prosecutor alleged.

Last Oct. 15, the couple had some “social interaction” in which there was talk of rekindling the relationship, but Saucedo said he wasn’t interested in the committed long-term relationship Bray wanted, Kennedy said.

Bray felt “spurned” and left the victim’s apartment the next morning, the prosecutor said.

Around 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Bray returned to Saucedo’s apartment armed with a .38-caliber revolver and minutes later, neighbors reported hearing a series of gunshots, Kennedy said.

Bray called 911, indicating Saucedo had committed suicide, but investigators found the victim with nine gunshot wounds and a loaded gun next to him.

Shortly after his death, two candlelight vigils were held in Pier Plaza in Imperial Beach to remember Saucedo.

Friends and family said the sheriff’s department did not do enough to keep him safe.

Sheriff’s Lt. Marco Garmo, commander of the Imperial Beach substation, said deputies take claims of domestic violence against men as seriously as they do claims of domestic violence against women.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Ed Sorrels April 24, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Why is there any doubt ? She said that he had committed suicide when she called a clear showing that she knew she had committed a crime and was attempting to hide or obscure the true circumstances ! She knew !
Andy Arciga April 25, 2013 at 09:34 PM
He was shot more times than the pistol's capacity. Which means she took time to reload. That's premeditation in my book.
Fayette (Davis) Driskell April 26, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Ed & Andy, I so agree with both of you...this was a "disturbed" female, ok,.a very jealous, manipulative, condesending, self-righteous female...any person who puts themselves ABOVE another's child?, doesn't need to be in that relationship..this was no accident, it was down-right premeditated & she needs to be punished accordingly..stop wasting the taxpayer's money on phys's, try her & get it over with...
Jessica Quisenberry Dailey April 27, 2013 at 02:21 AM
At least she was composed enough to be sure to say she "didn't remember doing it". seems like her mind is able to get the right words out of her mouth at he right time. Lucky for her, sometimes people in a state of true despair might say the wrong thing.

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