SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Criminal proceedings were suspended Monday for a homeless man who pleaded guilty to throwing sulfuric acid on a stranger as she was leaving a laundromat east of downtown San Diego.
Arturo Jose Reyes, 56, was supposed to be sentenced Monday, but Deputy Public Defender Abbey Noel told a judge that she had doubts about her client's ability to understand the court proceedings.
Judge Laura Halgren ordered a mental competency examination and set a hearing for Jan. 23.
Authorities said the victim spotted Reyes sitting in a dark blue BMW as she was walking into the laundry on 25th Street near Broadway about 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 22.
Prosecutor Kelly Rand said Reyes confronted the woman outside the business, yelled something about the devil, then threw the acid on her.
The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of second-degree burns. Rand said the woman suffered blisters on her eyes, cheek and buttocks.
Reyes, who was apprehended at a nearby gas station, also suffered second-degree burns from the sulfuric acid, which is used in drain cleaner, Rand said. She said the defendant was homeless and had $11,000 in cash in his car when he was arrested.