A Pacifica woman who spent several months in a state mental hospital after her arrest for stabbing a taxi driver on a ride home to Pacifica from Daly City pleaded no contest to a variety of felonies last week including attempted murder.
But rather than sentence and incarcerate her, a San Mateo County criminal court judge committed her to a state mental hospital based on two doctors’ conclusions that Amanda Jenille Aldeguer, 23, was insane at the time, according to a report in The Daily Journal.
Aldeguer had entered the twin pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges which also included carjacking and the use of a deadly weapon, according to the article. Her plea change on Thursday vacated her upcoming Oct. 15 jury trial and leaves her to spend at least 180 days in treatment. If found sane, Aldeguer will be freed from the hospital without restriction.
In The Daily Journal report, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said: “That is what the law requires. When somebody could be out in a fairly quick time there could be the feeling the system doesn’t work but the law does allow that in this country.”
Pacifica Police arrested Aldeguer March 16, 2012, for attempted murder and carjacking. She allegedly stabbed a cab driver in the neck while he was driving her home from the Serramonte Shopping Center in Daly City, and then repeatedly stabbed the cabbie as he resisted, prosecutors said. She drove off in the cab after her alleged victim fled.
Police found a knife in the cab parked in Pacifica's Fairmont neighborhood. A video camera installed in the cab recorded the attack, prosecutors said.
Authorities responded to a 911 call from Aldeguer's mother, who noticed wounds on her daughter's hand.
Aldeguer was apprehended in South San Francisco near Kaiser Permanente Medical Center on El Camino Real, according to police.
Before Aldeguer could have a preliminary hearing, her attorney expressed doubts about her competence for trial and she was ultimately committed to Napa State Hospital — where she was subject to forced medication if necessary until she was ready to participate in her own defense, according to a San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office report. She returned to San Mateo County after hospital staff concluded she had been restored to competence and she entered the twin pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
She remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 pending a Nov. 14 placement hearing.
Read the full report in The Daily Journal here.
Information in this report was provided by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.