Doctors say Oakland woman not competent to stand trial in murder case

OAKLAND (BCN)-- Two doctors have concluded that a woman charged with murder for the brutal stabbing and burning death last year of a 21-year-old San Leandro woman who was an Alameda County sheriff's explorer isn't mentally competent to stand trial at this time, according to reports presented in court today.

Defense attorney Darryl Stallworth, who represents postal worker Laura Rodgers, 24, of Oakland, said the court-appointed doctors found that Rodgers is unable to understand the criminal proceedings against her and
assist in her defense.

Rodgers and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Curtys Entoine Taylor of Oakland, are charged in connection with the death of Karla Ramirez, whose body was found in a creek at the Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center in East
Oakland just before noon on Nov. 3.

Ramirez was a volunteer with the sheriff's explorer program, whose participants often go on to become law enforcement officers.

She had last been seen at about 10 p.m. on Nov. 2 when she dropped off a friend on 136th Avenue in San Leandro, police said.

Deputies located her vehicle at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 near Happyland Avenue and West A Street in Hayward near Interstate Highway 880, but she has no known friends in that area, according to the sheriff's office.

Oakland police Sgt. Leo Sanchez wrote in a probable cause statement that officers who located Ramirez's body observed that she had suffered multiple stab wounds and had been set on fire.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson suspended the criminal proceedings against Rodgers on Jan. 26 after Stallworth said he had been having trouble communicating with her and she was unable to help in her defense.

Rolefson also appointed two doctors to examine Rodgers and their reports were presented in court today.

Stallworth said he hopes that Rodgers, who's still being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, will soon be sent to a mental treatment facility such as Napa State Hospital so she can be treated, but prosecutors
are considering whether to seek a jury trial on the issue of her competence.

He said Rodgers will return to court on May 5, when prosecutors will announce whether they will ask for a jury trial on her competence or allow her to be committed to a mental facility.

If Rodgers is sent to a mental facility, the idea would be for her to receive treatment so that she could possibly stand trial in the future if she's eventually found to be competent.

Stallworth said Taylor hasn't yet entered a plea in the case because his attorney is waiting to see what happens with Rodgers.

Sanchez wrote in his probable cause statement that investigators learned before Ramirez disappeared that she was possibly going to meet with a woman later identified as Rodgers, Sanchez said.

When investigators arrested Rodgers on the night of Nov. 3, she told them she had planned for several days to kill Ramirez and had discussed her plan with Taylor, according to Sanchez.

However, Sanchez did not explain why Rodgers wanted to kill Ramirez.

Taylor told investigators after he was arrested that he was aware that Rodgers planned to kill Ramirez and had discussed that plan with her, according to Sanchez.

In addition to murder, Rodgers is charged with use of a deadly weapon for allegedly using a knife to kill Ramirez.