Competency eval ordered for man who pleaded guilty in child sexual assault
One of three men to plead guilty to the sexual assault of a child will undergo a court-ordered competency evaluation, staying the sentencing hearing in his case.
On Aug. 5, Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak ordered a competency evaluation for Daniel A. Gutierrez, 26, who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, criminal attempt to commit sexual assault and probation violations in April.
Gutierrez was arrested in February 2020 after the Grand County Sheriff’s Office received evidence from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation tying him to a child rape case also involving 48-year-old Eric Cordero of Craig and 51-year-old Larry Darnell of Kremmling.
Gutierrez was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault, but pleaded to reduced charges under a deal that limited his prison time at 16-20 years with three years of mandatory parole. Under the agreement, Gutierrez would also be ordered to pay restitution and register as a sex offender.
However, ahead of Gutierrez’s scheduled sentencing, defense attorney Leslie Goldstein motioned for a competency evaluation.
“We’ve had numerous conversations with our client that lead us to believe that he needs to be assessed by a forensic specialist for competency,” Goldstein told the court on July 22. “I think there are also mental health issues that are precluding our client from completely understanding the nature of the offense and his ability to participate in his defense.”
Gutierrez had previously refused to participate in a court ordered psychosexual evaluation, but Goldstein filed a sealed motion following the July 22 hearing describing the specific reasons she believes Gutierrez is incompetent.
On Aug. 5, Hoak granted the motion for the competency evaluation and set a hearing for Sept. 9., which delays Gutierrez’s sentencing.
Hoak specified that the evaluation could happen in jail custody via telehealth conferencing in an effort to avoid backlogs for in-person evaluations. Still, Goldstein told the court on Aug. 5 that evaluations were taking more than a month.
Gutierrez remains in the Grand County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Cordero was sentenced to 18 years in prison in March.
Darnell pleaded guilty under a deal that includes an indeterminate life sentence in prison with a minimum of 16 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26 and remains in the Grand County Jail on a $1 million bond.
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