The man who fatally shot two deputies during a 2014 crime spree in California laughed and smirked at the start of his murder trial on Tuesday as he loudly declared, “I will break out soon, and I will kill more.”
Bracamontes’ defense attorney, public defender Jeffrey Barbour, left no doubt about his client’s role in the killings, which Bracamontes has repeatedly admitted in previous court hearings.
“Let me be clear and upfront,” Barbour told jurors on Tuesday, The Sacramento Bee reports. “Mr. Bracamontes is responsible for the death of deputy Danny Oliver and detective Michael Davis. He shot them both.”
The outbursts by Bracamontes, 37, led Barbour to ask Superior Court Judge Steve White to reconsider his earlier ruling that Bracamontes is mentally competent.
The judge denied the request.
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A Deadly Chase
Prosecutors say the Oct. 24, 2014, slayings of Davis and Oliver resulted as Bracamontes led authorities on a chase that began with a shoot-out in a Motel 6 parking lot near a Sacramento-area mall.
The pursuit then continued into a neighboring county, where Bracamontes holed up in a house and tuned on the stove’s gas burners before crawling out and surrendering, according to authorities.
Bracamontes, who illegally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, was referenced by President Donald Trump during a Congressional speech last year, where Trump introduced the widow of one of Bracamontes’ victims.
Bracamontes’ wife, 41-year-old Janelle Monroy, is also on trial, charged with assisting her husband by transferring an assault rifle from vehicle to vehicle after Oliver was shot while the couple fled.
Her case is being heard simultaneously by a separate jury. She has pleaded not guilty and faces a possible life sentence.
‘I Wish I … Killed More’
The courtroom disruptions on Tuesday began as prosecutor Rod Norgaard recalled the day of violence for the assembled jurors and members of the victims’ families who were in attendance.
After detailing the shooting of Oliver by Bracamontes, Norgaard said the deputy’s partner, Scott Brown, retreated under heavy gunfire in the motel parking lot.
That statement led Bracamontes to blurt out, “Coward.”
The prosecutor continued, describing the wounding of another man, at which point Bracamontes interrupted again, saying, ”’Cause he’s stupid.”
“Be silent,” the judge admonished the defendant.
“I don’t f—— regret that s—. The only thing that I f—— regret is that I f—— killed just two,” a grinning Bracamontes said as jurors listened. “I wish I f—— killed more of those motherf——.”
As the judge ordered jurors removed from the courtroom, Bracamotes continued to speak after a sip of water.
“I will break out soon, and I will kill more,” he said, “and whoever f—— gets in front of me, just like that.”
With jurors outside of his hearing, the judge then told the suspect, “Mr. Bracamontes, this is your trial. I want you to be present, but you will not disrupt this trial. You will not speak out. If you do, you will be removed from the courtroom. You understand that?”
“I do,” Bracamontes replied.
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Before jurors were brought back and the opening statements resumed, defense attorney Barbour repeated his previous concern and asked the judge to reconsider the competency of his client.
“We believe these outbursts and the inappropriate laughter are part of the mental illness that we talked about earlier,” he said.
The judge then denied the motion. “He is not incompetent to stand trial,” he said.
The charges against Bracamontes include the murders of both deputies, wounding a third deputy and shooting a fourth person in the head to steal his vehicle.
If convicted, Bracamontes faces life in prison or the death penalty.