A Las Vegas judge Wednesday ordered that the man accused of stabbing two patients last month at University Medical Center (UMC) be given a mental health exam. One of the victims died. The other survived.
The order was given while Michael Earl, 48, of Las Vegas, appeared before Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum. Earl is charged with assault, attempted murder, battery, burglary, and murder.
Porfirio Alejandro Rea, 29, was stabbed in the neck while being partially restrained. He later died from his injuries.
A second patient, age 24, was stabbed in the leg. He was on a gurney when the stabbing took place. He then ran through exit doors to safety.
Earl is scheduled to return to Las Vegas court on Aug. 5. If convicted on the charges, he could face decades in prison. He remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.
Earl’s attorney, James Ruggeroli of Las Vegas, who specializes in criminal defense, explained his client will be evaluated by mental health professionals.
Looking into the competency issues is the first thing we have to do to make sure he understands everything that is going on,” Ruggeroli was quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
During a prior scheduled court appearance, Earl allegedly refused to show up. That led a judge to previously hold him without setting bail.
Was at Casino
Last month, it was revealed Earl was at a casino before he was taken to UMC for psychiatric evaluation. He started to feel he wanted to harm himself or someone else, police said.
A security guard was alerted and then called an ambulance to take Earl to the hospital.
It is unclear whether he or a friend alerted the guard, local TV station KLAS, reported.
Thought Patient Was Speaking
Once at the hospital, Earl believed he heard Rea call him a “snitch” and that Rea told him to “end it all” before the stabbing, the police report revealed, KLAS said.
Both attacks appeared to happen without provocation or forewarning,” police said in an arrest report, cited by KVVU, another Nevada TV station.
Later, Earl told police he had not been eating or sleeping in the days or hours before the incident, KLAS said.
It is unknown how Earl was able to possess a knife while in a dedicated psychiatric area in the hospital, KSNV, another local TV station, reported.
UMC is a large hospital in Las Vegas. Victims of violent crimes along the Las Vegas Strip and those who suffer injuries in downtown Las Vegas are often taken there for treatment.
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