Crash homicide suspect can be tried; Man charged in motorcyclist's death to get interpreter.
WORCESTER -- A Milford man has been found competent to stand trial on charges stemming from a 2011 accident in which a 23-year-old motorcyclist was killed.
An April 3 trial date has been set in Worcester Superior Court for Nicolas Dutan Guaman on second-degree murder and other charges in connection with an Aug. 20, 2011, accident that resulted in the death of Matthew Denice of Milford.
Mr. Dutan Guaman, 36, an illegal immigrant, is also charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle, motor vehicle homicide while driving negligently and under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license, reckless endangerment of a child, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death and failing to stop for police.
He allegedly ran a stop sign in Milford, striking Mr. Denice's motorcycle and dragging him under his pickup truck for a quarter-mile before stopping for police.
Judge Janet Kenton-Walker found Mr. Dutan Guaman competent to stand trial after a hearing Tuesday.
The judge had found Mr. Dutan Guaman, who is from Ecuador, not competent to stand trial in April, ruling at that time that he lacked an adequate understanding of the charges against him and the court process and was unable to properly consult with his lawyer because of his "unique cultural background'' and Quechua dialect.
She ordered his lawyers, Peter L. Ettenberg and Stuart Hurowitz, to hire an interpreter who speaks Quechua, a dialect spoken in rural Ecuador, to aid them in teaching Mr. Dutan-Guaman what he needed to know about the legal process in order to be deemed competent.
The lawyers retained the services of an interpreter and Karen Lita Poor, a clinical law professor at Boston University and a criminal defense lawyer, for that purpose.
"It is our opinion as of today that Mr. Guaman is competent to continue with the court process,'' Mr. Ettenberg told Judge Kenton-Walker Tuesday.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers told the judge he accepted Mr. Ettenberg's representations.
Judge Kenton-Walker found Mr. Dutan Guaman competent, but noted that the issue of competency is always open for reconsideration by either side or by the court.
At the lawyers' request, the judge scheduled a Dec. 18 final pretrial conference in the case. The April 3 trial date had been set previously.