Man who pleaded guilty to throwing acid on woman ruled mentally competent for sentencing

Arturo Reyes to be sentenced Feb. 27

SAN DIEGO - A transient who pleaded guilty to throwing sulfuric acid on a woman he did not know in Golden Hill is mentally competent to face sentencing, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Arturo Jose Reyes, 56, pleaded guilty to assault with a caustic chemical and was initially scheduled to be sentenced in November, but criminal proceedings were suspended after the defendant's public defender told a judge that she doubted her client's ability to understand the court proceedings.

After reviewing a doctor's report Wednesday, Judge Frederick Maguire found that Reyes was mentally competent to be sentenced Feb. 27.

Authorities said the victim spotted Reyes sitting in a dark blue BMW as she was walking into a coin-operated laundry on 25th Street just east of downtown San Diego around 5:45 a.m. last Sept. 22.

Reyes confronted the woman outside the business, yelled something about the devil, then threw the acid on her, authorities said.

The victim, whose identity was withheld, suffered second-degree burns, with visible blisters on her eyes, cheek and buttocks.

Reyes, who also sustained second-degree burns from the acid -- the kind found in drain cleaner -- was arrested at a nearby gas station shortly after the attack. Authorities said he was homeless but had nearly $11,000 in cash in his car.

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