Campos still unfit for trial, court rules

Observer file photo Carlos Campos (l.) and his attorney Joseph Russo, at Jan. 2013 court hearing.
Observer file photo
Carlos Campos (l.) and his attorney Joseph Russo, at Jan. 2013 court hearing.


A court has, once again, concluded that Carlos Campos, charged with the slaughter of three family members in their Hamilton St. home in Harrison on Aug. 16, 2011, is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Last Tuesday, Oct. 6, Hudson County Superior Court Judge John Young Jr., sitting in Jersey City, made his ruling following a competency hearing held Aug. 4-5 before Judge Young.

Since Campos’s indictment in 2012 for the murder of his parents, Ruth Pereira, 58, and Carlos A. Campos-Trinidad Sr., 56, and his 3-year-old niece Gabriella Morales, the state has pressed for the defendant, who was 23 at the time of the crime, to face a jury trial.

To that end, the state relied upon testimony by psychiatrist Dr. Joanna Bajgier that Campos “is currently suffering from schizophrenia but is competent to stand trial, and that he is malingering [faking irrational behavior],” according to court documents.

Campos’s attorney Joseph Russo, Hudson County deputy public defender, offered the testimony of two forensic psychiatrists, Dr. Kenneth Weiss and Dr. Daniel Greenfield, “who both testified that Campos “… has a severe mental illness (schizophrenia or psychotic disorder NOS), is not rationally competent to stand trial due to his severe and present delusions, and is not malingering …..,” court documents said.

The issue before the court, Russo reasoned, is “… whether or not [the defendant’s] present and severe delusional beliefs prevent him from assisting counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and rationally participating in his own defense …,” documents show.

As early as March 2011, according to court documents, when he was being evaluated at UMDNJ in Newark, Campos “… reported believing, that he was on a television show, and believing that he was being trained by a friend to join a secret society, documents indicate.

Campos elaborated on this notion, documents show, psychiatrists at the Ann Klein Forensic Center, including Bajgier, “… about being on a reality show, which is controlled by the Illuminati, and needing to kill someone to be discharged [from the AKFC] on 12/12/14.”

“Mr. Campos is actively psychotic and not able to rationally participate in a trial [and] a person who is not competent cannot be tried,” Russo said. Judge Young, who decided after a similar competency hearing held Jan. 15-16, 2013, that Campos was unfit to face a jury trial, came to the same conclusion last week and ruled that another such review should be conducted in six months.

– Ron Leir 

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