Man accused of killing 2 transients in Anaheim raises possibility of refusing court-appointed attorney – Orange County Register

SANTA ANA – A man charged with the murder of two men in Anaheim, and who was a cellmate of another man who died under suspicious circumstances, on Tuesday raised the prospect of getting rid of his court-appointed attorney.

Marvin Magallanes, 26, during a mental-competency hearing told Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Edward Hall that he wanted to “refuse” his attorney.

Hall briefly closed the courtroom to discuss the matter with Magallanes and his court-appointed attorney, veteran public defender Alison Worthington.

When the courtroom was re-opened, Hall asked Worthington if Magallanes was making a request to represent himself. Worthington said Magallanes was not. Magallanes did not make any additional comments to the court.

Hall noted that the law does not allow a defendant to represent themselves during a mental-health hearing. The hearing was continued to Sept. 26.

The criminal proceedings against Magallanes have been placed on hold while the court evaluates whether he is mentally able to assist with his own defense, or whether he should be placed in a mental-health facility until he is competent to stand trial.

Booking photo of Marvin Magallanes. Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

On May 12, Magallanes walked into the lobby of the Anaheim Police Department and confessed to killing a homeless man, police said.

Prosecutors believe that man to be 49-year-old Sabah Alsaad, who was killed in an early morning attack on Jan. 25 in the 1200 block of South Magnolia Avenue. Police said detectives had already tied Alsaad’s killing to the Oct. 27 slaying of Onasai Tavita, a 52-year-old homeless man found stabbed to death in the 900 block of S. Euclid Street.

Magallanes, who has refused to come to court for several hearings, in May told a judge that he wanted to plead guilty to the pair of special-circumstances murder charges he is facing. The judge refused to accept the plea, instead ordering that Magallanes undergo mental-health evaluations.

While Magallanes awaited the outcome of the mental-health hearings, his cell-mate at the Central Jail Complex in Santa Ana, Danny Pham, was found dead.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which is conducting an investigation into Pham’s death, has not said whether Magallanes was inside the cell at the time. Investigators have not released a cause of death, and Magallanes has not been identified as a suspect.

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