California court upholds death penalty for man who dismembered 12-year-old boy

June 25 (UPI) — The Supreme Court of California ruled on Friday to affirm a death penalty verdict for a California man who murdered a 12-year-old boy.

John Samuel Ghobrial, 48, was sentenced to death in 2002 for murdering 12-year-old Juan Delgado back in 1998. But Ghobrial’s attorneys have been arguing that he is mentally disturbed and was never allowed a mental competency hearing before trial. According to OC Weekly, Ghobrial was beaten and chained as a kid in Egypt before he fled to the United States. But his mental decline continued in California, where he was known to defecate on rooftops, mutilate himself, tear out his toenails, covered his face in butter and coffee, and heard imaginary voices that urged him to commit violent acts.

But the Supreme Court didn’t accept the argument.

“Although the defense counsel’s penalty phase mitigation evidence showed that the defendant suffered from serious mental illness, we conclude that the mitigating evidence did not constitute substantial evidence of present incompetence that required the trial court, on its own motion, to declare doubt and conduct a competence hearing,” the court wrote.

In 1998, Ghobrial, a trained butcher, kidnapped Delgado, severed his body and scattered some body parts around Orange County and put others in concrete bins.


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