Cervantes defense blew him off, psychologist says

By From page A10 | October 02, 2013

Alexander Cervantes

Alexander Cervantes

FAIRFIELD — A psychologist testified that his evaluation of Alexander Cervantes, the Vacaville teen convicted of 15 felonies including attempted murder and rape, didn’t interest a public defender who represented Cervantes.

John Podboy said Monday at the hearing for a request for a new trial in the Solano County Superior Court case that he didn’t complete his psychological evaluation because attorney Erin Kirkpatrick didn’t return his phone calls.

“She said another psychologist had determined he’s a psychopath who’ll kill again,” Podboy said in court. “She blew me off.”

Kirkpatrick said after the hearing that she’d love to comment about Podboy’s statements but cannot do so because the matter is still in court.

New attorneys for Cervantes seek a retrial in the case because they say the defendant was ineffectively represented during the trial.

Cervantes, 16, raped and stabbed a 13-year-old girl and then stabbed her baby brother in 2010. He faces a possible sentence of 227 years to life.

Robert Hightower, deputy district attorney for Solano County, asked Podboy whether Kirkpatrick wanted the psychologist to determine if the defendant suffered from alcohol-induced blackouts – while Podboy undertook a fuller evaluation.

Podboy said Cervantes’ background, including medical and possible psychological concerns, was part of his assessment. Cervantes began drinking beer at around age 8 0r 9 and first used psilocybin mushrooms at age 13, the psychologist said.

“I’m the expert. I can do what I want to do,” Podboy said.

The psychologist said he spent more time than the eight hours of work for which he was paid $2,500.

Dr. Alex Stalcup, director of the New Leaf Treatment Center in Contra Costa County, testified that Cervantes used psilocybin mushrooms, along with alcohol and marijuana, even thought tests did not show the psychedelic drug.

Stalcup, a graduate of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, said the psychedelic is almost never detected. Stalcup, who during the 1960s worked at the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinics, said Cervantes may have also taken Ecstasy.

Cervantes, who took off his clothes during the crimes, reported he was hot and sweaty, Stalcup said. Removal of clothes by people who have taken such a combination of drugs is common and called “naked tripping,” the doctor said.

The four-day hearing on the request for a new trial is expected to conclude when the matter resumes Monday.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


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