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PR Murder Suspect Can Stand Trial


The man charged with murdering 19-year-old gay Puerto Rican Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado has been found competent to stand trial.

A psychologist evaluating Juan Jose Martinez Matos told a judge Wednesday morning that he was mentally competent to stand trial, according to Edge New York. Martinez Matos is accused of murdering Lopez Mercado in November by burning, decapitating, and dismembering his body before leaving it on the side of a road.

The case has the potential to be Puerto Rico's first trial involving an antigay hate-crime charge. Local authorities say they will prosecute Martinez Matos under the territory's gay-inclusive hate-crimes law, which has been in place since 2002.

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