A judge last month suspended court proceedings against an Inglewood man accused of killing his 1-year-old daughter after a lawyer raised doubt over the man’s mental competence, court records show.
The defendant, Jayveyon Louis Burley, will now have to undergo a mental evaluation before the case can continue.
The 22-year-old father was taken into custody on Dec. 5 after police found his daughter, Leilani Dream Burley, in the Los Angeles River near Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. He’s remained jailed in lieu of $2.05 million bail ever since.
Burley had gone to Long Beach the day before to pick up his two children from their mother’s house, but he only returned back home with one child, the children’s grandmother told police at the time.
In January, Burley pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one count of assault on a child causing death. He was due back in court on Feb. 16 for a pre-hearing conference, but instead, criminal proceedings were put on hold when his attorney questioned whether Burley was mentally competent to stand trial.
In California, whenever doubt in the defendant’s mental competency is raised, criminal proceedings are paused until the defendant can be evaluated, and if needed, get treatment, to make sure they’re mentally well enough to understand what’s happening in court and participate in their own defense.
It’s not clear in this case what prompted the defense attorney to question Burley’s mental competency, only that “Mr. Burley’s defense attorney expressed his doubt that Mr. Burley was mentally competent to stand trial” within the meaning of California’s penal code, according to the prosecutor, Marlon Duke Powers.
Burley’s defense attorney was not available for comment.
A court-appointed psychiatrist will now examine Burley and prepare a report to determine whether proceedings can continue.
Powers added that while a report will be completed, it will not necessarily be completed by the next court date, which is scheduled for March 16.