The death-penalty trial of one of two suspects in the slaying of three fast-food employees in Mesa has been indefinitely postponed while doctors evaluate his mental competency, court records show.
Christopher Hargrave, 23, was set to begin trial Monday on three counts of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the May 19, 2002, armed robbery that left Fausto Jimenez, 31; Beatriz Alvarado, 31; and Kenneth Brown, 27, dead.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Foreman on Nov. 7 followed the recommendation of a prescreen report and ordered that Hargrave be given a full evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. Legal competency is whether a person understands the legal proceedings and can assist defense counsel.
If Hargrave is found incompetent, doctors will treat him until he is restored to competency. Hargrave’s attorney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Hargrave’s co-defendant, 24-year-old Steve Alan Boggs, is set to begin trial March 29.
They are accused of going into the Jack in the Box, 2846 E. Main St., where the employees were herded into a freezer and shot several times in the back.
Even though $270 was taken from the restaurant and personal items were taken from the victims, the motive prosecutors believe is behind the killings is revealed in a written court motion.
Deputy county attorney Michael Bailey wants to introduce evidence that Hargrave and Boggs belonged to a "paramilitary ‘white supremacist’ group called the ‘Imperial Royal Guard.’ "
Bailey noted in the motion that two of the victims were Hispanic and one American Indian.
When Hargrave was arrested June 6, 2002, at the Sycamore Creek campground, investigators found books and pamphlets about white supremacy and Adolf Hitler, according to the motion.
According to police, each man said the other fired the fatal shots.
Mesa police arrested Boggs on June 5 near Southern Avenue and Power Road.
Boggs’ attorney is trying to get his confession excluded from evidence, contending his client asked for a lawyer upon his arrest but was never given one.