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Utah judge orders prison for schizophrenic man who killed father in delusional state

SHARE Utah judge orders prison for schizophrenic man who killed father in delusional state
Omar Carmona

Omar Carmona

Utah County Jail

PROVO — A Provo man who killed his father in 2016 has severe schizophrenia and mistakenly believed that his dad was allowing people into their mobile home to beat and rape him, his attorney said Tuesday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Omar Carmona has improved with therapy and medication, but his illness causes him to hallucinate. He believed for a time that his father was still alive and he could fight the murder charge he originally faced, his attorney, Dustin Parmley, said during a sentencing hearing in 4th District Court.

"This is a really sad case," Parmley said. He asked a judge on Tuesday to consider sending his client back into the custody of state health managers for more treatment before he goes to prison.

But 4th District Judge Christine Johnson said doctors' notes show Carmona is stable, even though he has rejected medication from time to time. He does not pose such a risk to himself or others that he should avoid going directly to prison, she said. The judge ordered Carmona to serve at least six years and up to life.

After roughly two years in the Utah State Hospital, Carmona was declared competent to stand trial in December. He immediately admitted to killing his father and then taking his wallet and buying soda, entering pleas of guilty and mentally ill to reduced charges of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony.

Like the judge, prosecutors believe more time in an inpatient treatment program is not necessary, said deputy Utah County attorney Randy Kennard.

Still, he said, "it is a tragedy."

A bearded Carmona was in shackles Tuesday, speaking only once during the brief hearing when the judge asked if he wished to say something before being sentenced.

"Not today," he replied.

Carmona was originally charged with strangling his father, Marco Carmona, 57, and hiding the body in a freezer on June 8, 2016. He faced counts of murder, a first-degree felony, and desecration of a body, a third-degree felony, but those were amended as part of the December plea deal.

Prosecutors had said that despite his mental illness, he knew his actions would lead to his father's death. But they later agreed to reduce the charges in an effort to acknowledge the role schizophrenia played but still ensure a prison term of up to life, Kennard said Tuesday.

Marco Carmona's body was found the next day inside a deep freezer in his home after his wife reported him missing, investigators said.

Roughly two years earlier, Carmona had attacked his father with a razor blade in an incident driven by his mental health issues, court records show. Marco Carmona asked prosecutors to seek mental health treatment for his son as part of the 2014 criminal case.

His son ultimately entered a plea in abeyance to an aggravated assault charge and a kidnapping charge was dismissed. He graduated from mental health court, a program that seeks to balance penalties with rehabilitation, about a year before he killed his father.

The judge sentenced Carmona on Tuesday to at least five years and up to life on the aggravated robbery conviction and at least one and up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction, ordering them to run one after the other. She granted him credit for more than 2 1/2 years he has spent in custody.