Homicide suspect to undergo mental evaluation

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The case against a Portales man charged with an open count of murder in the death of a 69-year-old man is on hold pending psychological evaluations.

District Judge Drew Tatum ordered Thursday that Isaac Montano II, 46, undergoes a psychological evaluation, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Montano’s case was scheduled to go before a grand jury Friday, Chandler said.

The defendant is accused of stabbing and shooting Don Chapman on July 7 inside the victim’s Portales residence.

Police have said they believe robbery was the motive.

Court records show public defense attorney Brett Carter filed an ex parte motion with Tatum, meaning he met with the judge absent the presence of prosecutors, requesting Montano be evaluated to determine:

• His sanity at the time of the alleged offense

• If he was capable of having the specific intent to commit the offenses he’s charged with

• If he is competent to stand trial

• To determine the necessity and extent of treatment for Montano and his amenability to it.

No time limits were specified in the judge’s order.

Chandler said Tatum’s order brings court proceedings against Montano to a halt until the evaluation is complete.

Carter declined comment Friday.

The defendant has a past history of mental competency issues arising in criminal cases, according to court records.