Sanity again questioned, as new trial set in GJ stabbing

Eight years and more than a dozen doctor reports after the fact, a Grand Junction man Thursday was ordered to stand trial a second time on charges that he stabbed another man 27 times during a home burglary.

Through his public defender, Troy D. Mondragon, 46, on Thursday pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a host of charges, including attempted murder and first-degree assault, stemming from a case in which Colorado mental health doctors have issued 14 independent reports on the question of Mondragon’s sanity since 2003.

“It’s quite the circus,” an attorney said Thursday, leaving District Judge Valerie Robison’s courtroom.

Since his arrest in connection with the March 22, 2003, stabbing of a man at a Grand Junction apartment, Mondragon’s sanity and competence to stand trial has been contested repeatedly.

A Mesa County jury in 2006 convicted Mondragon on the most serious charges in his case, rejecting Mondragon’s first plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sentenced to 64 years in prison.

The jury found Mondragon was sane at the time of the assault, despite testimony at trial indicating Mondragon believed he worked for the FBI and CIA, which included work as an archangel infiltrating satanic cults.

Courts and doctors have since clashed on Mondragon’s sanity.

The Colorado Court of Appeals in 2009 rejected the verdicts and sentence, saying Chief District Judge David Bottger applied an incorrect standard in determining whether Mondragon was competent to be tried in the first place. In December that year, Bottger agreed and ordered Mondragon’s mental health to be re-evaluated.

In the spring of 2010, doctors at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo concluded Mondragon was competent during his trial. The competency issue with the subject of hearings this past May and July before Robison, who on Thursday issued an order that found Mondragon was competent.

With Mondragon’s insanity plea on Thursday, Colorado law will require he be sent back to Pueblo for yet another sanity evaluation.

Mondragon’s new trial is tentatively scheduled from Dec. 12 to 23.


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