Court to examine mental health of murder suspect

RIVERSIDE - On Tuesday, a judge suspended criminal proceedings pending a mental health evaluation of a 35-year-old Cabazon man suspected of stabbing his sister to death.

Michael James Horton is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary -- which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted -- along with sentence-enhancing allegations of use of a deadly weapon.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning at the Riverside Hall of Justice, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios J. Hernandez declared doubts about the defendant's mental competency and determined that experts should be appointed to examine him, according to court records.

The 34-year-old victim's body was found Jan. 27 inside a residence in the 14200 block of Broadway in Cabazon. Jennifer Horton had suffered multiple stab wounds, authorities said.

Her brother was arrested on suspicion of murder a few days later in Cabazon, and the criminal case was filed Feb. 4.

Sheriff's Deputy Armando Munoz said detectives connected the defendant to his sister's death through statements from several witnesses. A possible motive hasn't been disclosed.

Horton is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of $1 million bail.

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