Rite Aid suspect

Rite Aid murder suspect Jason James Reyes, left, appears in court on Tuesday morning to see if he is mentally fit to stand trial for the alleged fatal shooting of Armando Ramirez Jr. (Apolinar Fonseca/The Sentinel)

HANFORD — A Kings County Superior Court judge ruled on Tuesday that Rite Aid shooting suspect Jason James Reyes is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The decision came at the suggestion of a court-appointed psychologist who evaluated the 35-year-old suspect over the last month.

State law says that all criminal proceedings must be suspended against the suspect until he is mentally fit to understand the charges against him and assist his attorney in his defense.

Reyes came to court sporting a beard, a mohawk and four bailiffs at his side.

Judge Harry Papadakis said Reyes will be sent to a state mental hospital until he is deemed fit for trial. Reyes is scheduled to reappear in court again on July 17.

Reyes is accused in the March 5 slaying of Armando Ramirez Jr, 32. Police say Reyes approached him in the downtown Rite Aid parking lot and shot him in the head. Ramirez had his 8-year-old daughter with him at the time.

Investigators said they believe the murder was just another stop on a statewide crime spree for Reyes. They say he went from the Bay Area to the Central Valley and down into Southern California selling drugs and shooting people.

Authorities also believe Reyes killed two people before his arrest and tried to kill several more.

Law enforcement caught up with him on March 16 in Ventura County. Reyes surrendered after a four-hour standoff with SWAT teams.

Police also arrested two people suspected of aiding Reyes in his crimes: Ronald Dale Simpson and Rose Marie Acajabon. They remain in custody at the Kings County Jail and are tentatively scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on June 20.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2425 or jjohnson@HanfordSentinel.com.

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