Mesac Damas incompetent to stand trial, doctors say

Judge will determine if his trial will go forward

Reported by: Jacob Carpenter/Naples Daily News

Mesac Damas, the North Naples man charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the slaughter of his family, has been found incompetent to proceed by two court-appointed doctors, a State Attorney's Office spokeswoman said Monday.

Two doctors evaluating Damas made the determination, and now a judge will determine in the coming weeks whether Damas can go forward to trial, State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Samantha Syoen said. An April 7 case management conference has been scheduled to map out future court dates, Syoen said.

Under Florida law, a defendant is incompetent to proceed if he or she "does not have sufficient present ability to consult with her or his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding or if the defendant has no rational, as well as factual, understanding of the proceedings against her or him."

The contents of competency evaluations are not public record. A judge makes the final determination on whether to declare a defendant incompetent to proceed.

Damas had previously been found competent to proceed in the case in 2011 despite frequent outbursts in court. Damas has admitted to the killings of his wife and five children in 2009, often invoking Biblical references when describing his actions and fate.

In emails to the Daily News in recent months, Damas said he was "possessed by demons" at the time of the killings. He said he's become a "new creature in Christ" since.

Damas' defense team has been working on research mitigating factors that would be used to sway a jury against sentencing him to the death penalty.

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