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Man ruled incompetent after mother’s murder committed for 15 years – The Tri-City Record

Mateo Yazzie is being held at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute

Mateo Yazzie was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Denise Werito.

A Farmington man accused of stabbing his mother to death was sentenced to 15 years in New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute.

District Judge Daylene Marsh ruled that Mateo Yazzie, 24, “by clear and convincing evidence” killed his mother, Denise Werito, at a home in San Juan County on April 4, 2023, according to a May 29 hearing. in the 11th Judicial District Court.

Yazzie received five mental health evaluations over the past two years after committing violent crimes against his mother, and was deemed “not competent to stand trial” on July 28, 2023, according to court records.

The court also ruled that Yazzie was “dangerous” and “remains dangerous,” and therefore “should be detained by the New Mexico State Department of Health in a secure, locked facility.”

During Yazzie’s three-hour competency hearing on Feb. 6, Dr. Simone Viljoen testified that the man “exhibits active symptoms of the psychosis diagnosis of schizophrenia,” making him incompetent to stand trial, according to court records.

Viljoen also reported that Yazzie demonstrated “paranoid beliefs” of others “wanting to hurt or kill him,” and that he talked about “the satanic church, heaven, demons and hell,” according to court records.

Viljoen, a forensic psychologist, testified that Yazzie showed signs of being emotionally impaired with “a kind of flatness” to him, and that he appeared to be “minimizing” and even trying to “hide” his symptoms, according to court records.

Yazzie’s family previously stated that he was a happy and loving child who changed after using methamphetamine.

“He came into contact with meth, he really wasn’t himself. He just didn’t take life seriously and he had no purpose. He didn’t finish school,” his grandmother, Susie Werito, said during an Aug. 22 hearing.

Werito said Yazzie wasn’t allowed to stay with her because “he just wasn’t normal.” He was scary to us,” court records state.

Yazzie’s uncle Cornelius Werito, 56, of Farmington, echoed the sentiments, saying his cousin would talk to an “imaginary” friend and claim to be a “Satan master” who could do whatever he wanted.

Viljoen told the court that drug use “could cause mental illness.”

Marsh stated in the ruling that 15 years was the maximum sentence for first-degree murder, so Yazzie would have been sentenced for the same time if he had been “convicted in a criminal proceeding.”

Yazzie was given 422 days of “pre-detention/punitive confinement,” meaning he would be held at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute until April 4, 2038, court records state.

Yazzie is also entitled to a review hearing every two years during his deployment, according to court documents.

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