Tuesday Jan 19 2010
Alleged gas station killer still not fit for trial
By: Eric Laughlin, The Press Tribune
Eric Minchak to return to state hospital
The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Folsom woman at a Roseville gas station in 2006 will be incarcerated at Napa State Hospital until he's found mentally sound to stand trial. Pennsylvania native Eric Martin Minchak, 31, is believed to have robbed, attacked and murdered 45-year-old Tammy Texiera as she pumped gas at Joe's Market on N. Sunrise Avenue on the morning of April 2, 2006. According to reports, Texiera, a random victim, had stopped at the station to gas up while on her way to church. Minchak was arrested at the scene without incident, but months later a judge deemed him incapable of standing trial and sent him to Atascadero State Hospital, where he's been for the past three years. According to Placer County prosecutor David Broady, defendants who are declared mentally incompetent to stand trial can only be housed at a state hospital for three years, before either having to be released or held under a civil conservatorship. A judge recently ordered Minchak into such a conservator agreement with the Placer County Public Guardian. Minchak will now be transferred to Napa State Hospital, but will return to Placer County every year for a mental status hearing. "If and when he is deemed mentally competent, he could be ordered to stand trial for the murder and robbery," Broady said. But Broady also said that such actions present a "very difficult aspect" for the victim's family members, who have yet to receive closure. Texiera's husband Tony expressed such frustrations during a Sept. 2009 interview with the Press Tribune. "It makes me feel like I'm going to have to watch this guy for the rest of my life," he said. "My daughter and I haven't had any closure in this thing. In three and a half years, it's starting to really wear on us."