Faking a mental illness? Arizona judge says murder defendant was faking, is able to go on trial
PHOENIX — A judge has ruled that a man convicted of a killing a woman in Nevada has been faking being mentally incompetent in order to avoid standing trial in the Arizona homicide of another woman.
Commissioner Nicole Brickner in July had ruled that 46-year-old Craig Leslie Jacobsen was incompetent to stand trial but said in a new ruling that Jacobsen is competent and has been “malingering to get out of his criminal case.”
Jacobsen was convicted in Nevada in the 1997 killing of Ginger Rios, a 20-year-old singer and dancer who disappeared after she went to Jacobsen’s spycraft store in Las Vegas to buy a book.
Jacobsen was released from a Nevada prison and extradited to Arizona in 2015 after being charged in 2014 in the death of Christina Marie Martinez in Maricopa County in 1997.
An Oct. 14, 2014 indictment charging Jacobsen with first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Martinez said she was restrained and died as a result of the alleged kidnapping, but it did not elaborate on her death or the victim.
Brickner’s latest ruling stems from a Nov. 4 hearing during which a psychologist testified that she believed Jacobsen could not be restored to competency without psychotropic mediation.
However, Brickner said there’s evidence that Jacobson understands his situation and is able to consult with his defense lawyer “if he chooses to do so.”
Brickern’s ruling cited testimony that Jacobsen was diagnosed as malingering in his Nevada case before eventually being found competent.
The judge’s ruling also cited a legal declaration that Jacobsen filed in his Arizona case to ask for a new lawyer. “This declaration appears to be rational,” Brickner said in her ruling.
In addition, the psychologist testified that Jacobsen had told another person that if he got into trouble, he would “plead insanity” and “act crazy,” the ruling noted.
Rios’ husband drove her to the store and he said she never emerged.
Her whereabouts remained a mystery until Jacobsen’s wife led investigators to a concrete-covered grave in southern Arizona in the desert west of Florence between Tucson and Phoenix.
Detectives believed Rios was killed in the back of the store where Jacobsen, his wife and baby lived and that the killing was sexually related.