Parents accused of decapitating kids to be tried separately

Associated Press, May 22, 2003

BROWNSVILLE – A young couple accused of strangling and then decapitating their three young children will be tried separately, a judge ruled Thursday.

State judge Benjamin Euresti granted a defense motion to separate proceedings against Angela Camacho, 23, and John Allen Rubio, 22. The motion followed news reports that said Rubio had worked as a male prostitute and was known to sniff paint.

“Allegations made against him were most unimpressive and would have been quite inflammatory,” Camacho attorney Ernesto Gamez said. “There is nothing historically that is negative about our client. We’re very happy.”

Rubio attorney Nat Perez also had sought a separation.

“I felt that among other things, we had antagonistic defenses,” he said. “We would be at the situation where we could be pointing fingers at each other.”

Court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. David Moron meanwhile found Camacho mentally incompetent to stand trial.

A competency hearing likely will take place next month.

“That she was not of sound mind and did not have a factual and rational understanding of the charges is significant,” Gamez said. “If the jury accepts these findings, then she has to go to a mental institution first and regain her competency.”

Dr. William Mark Valverde, the psychiatrist appointed to examine Rubio, found Rubio competent to stand trial. His case will be moved to the courtroom of state judge Roberto Garza.

Perez has entered more than 900 pages of school records that he said shows Rubio has a long history of personality problems.

“He certainly has some mental health issues, and they’re not something that’s all of a sudden going to show up,” Perez said.

Euresti had not yet decided whether to grant a defense request to move the trial.

Brownsville police arrested Camacho and Rubio at their squalid downtown apartment on March 11 after finding one child’s headless body on a bed and the decapitated bodies of two others stuffed into plastic trash bags.

Police said the couple confessed to killing the children, then washing the bodies and having sex. They said the couple said they killed the children in part because they were destitute.

A grand jury on April 23 indicted both on four counts of capital murder — one for each child and a fourth because the three children were killed “during the same criminal transaction.”

The two pleaded innocent to the charges.

The prosecution has said it may seek the death penalty.

Rubio grew up in Brownsville and is a U.S. citizen; Camacho is from Mexico.

Gamez said the Mexican government, which opposes the death penalty, is watching the case closely and could seek to have Camacho returned to Mexico to avoid a death sentence.

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