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SAN FERNANDO : Accused Killer Sent to Mental Hospital

August 17, 1993|JULIO MORAN

A 46-year-old Sylmar woman charged with murder in the arson death of a 5-month-old boy Monday was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial and sent to a state mental facility.

After a brief hearing, San Fernando Superior Court Judge Judith Meisels Ashman ordered Raquel Lopez sent to Patton State Hospital. A report on Lopez will be issued in 90 days, after which she will be evaluated every six months to determine if her condition has changed enough for her to stand trial.

Lopez was arrested May 19, after a fire destroyed a two-room cottage behind her home at 13501 Borden Ave.

The infant, Richard Robles, was in the care of his stepsister, who was outside when the fire started. Police said Lopez was angry that the infant's parents, Ricardo Robles and Virginia Portillo, kept the place they rented from her dirty.

Police said that Lopez admitted setting the fire, but claimed that she did not know the infant was inside.

Lopez faced a possible death sentence if she had been convicted of the murder with the special circumstance of arson.

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