A man charged in the slaying of a 24-year-old Las Vegas model, whose body was found last year encased in concrete, has started “hearing voices,” his lawyers said.
Christopher Prestipino, 46, is due in court Tuesday, when a judge is expected to decide whether he should undergo a competency evaluation. He faces murder and kidnapping charges in the death of Esmeralda Gonzalez, who was found dead in the desert north of the Las Vegas Valley.
While being held at the Clark County Detention Center, Prestipino had been under quarantine but was able to contact his mother and attorneys by phone.
“His mother believes that Mr. Prestipino’s mental health has deteriorated to such an extent as to not make him competent,” Prestipino’s lawyers, Bill Terry and Alexandra Athmann-Marcoux, wrote in a court brief filed this month. “At the most recent visit with Mr. Prestipino, he indicated he was hearing voices and could not remember normal situations.”
The lawyers added that Prestipino “appears to understand the nature of the proceedings but that his memory of events has diminished.”
Court documents allege that Prestipino and his roommate Casandra Garrett, 40, killed Gonzalez “with a poisonous substance and/or by strangulation.”
Prestipino’s girlfriend, Lisa Mort, also faces a charge of harboring, concealing or aiding a felon in connection with the killing.
Gonzalez, who worked in the adult entertainment industry and had more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, lived about one-tenth of a mile from Prestipino.
Her Facebook profile indicated that she was from Michoacan, Mexico, and had studied at UNLV.
Prosecutors have written in court papers that Prestipino took extensive measures to hide Gonzalez’s body after he strangled her and injected her with pool cleaner.
Gonzalez was last seen alive in the pre-dawn hours of May 31, when she was captured on residential surveillance video trying to open the door to a home in the 9000 block of West Torino Avenue, less than two-tenths of a mile from Prestipino’s home.
Prestipino’s trial is slated to start in May, and his lawyers suggested that a competency evaluation, which could take about a month, “should not interfere with the trial date.”