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Thread: James Edward Papol (48) accused of raping killing Mary Lynn Vialpando (24) in 1988-charged after his DNA was matched to crime scene

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    James Edward Papol (48) accused of raping killing Mary Lynn Vialpando (24) in 1988-charged after his DNA was matched to crime scene

    A man accused of raping and killing a woman in Old Colorado City in 1988 was ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if he?s mentally fit to stand trial.

    James Edward Papol, who authorities say has been tied by DNA to the murder of Mary Lynn Vialpando, experienced ?a significant decline in his mental functioning? after going eight days without his anti-psychotic medication at the El Paso County jail, one of his defense attorneys told 4th Judicial District Judge Robin Chittum during a pretrial hearing.

    After testimony from investigators and forensic experts, Chittum ruled Friday that the prosecution has enough evidence for Papol to stand trial on charges including three counts of first-degree murder, each for a different theory of how the crime unfolded.

    But the competency evaluation, which Chittum ordered be done at Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, could put his case on hold for months or longer.
    Ex-wife of suspect in 30-year-old killing described beatings, threats in restraining order complaints

    ?This is going to come up again,? said Chittum, who set another hearing for April 5 to discuss progress on the evaluation. ?This is a case that he needs to be actively participating in, down the line.?

    Such mental competency evaluations examine whether defendants can understand court proceedings and aid in their defense.

    If found mentally incompetent, Papol will have to be treated by state psychologists until a judge rules that his mental fitness is restored. Inmates? treatment can?t extend beyond the maximum sentence they face.

    Papol, 46, was 15 when Vialpando was beaten, raped and stabbed to death. His mother has told police he was staying with his family at a motel that was ?within feet? of an alley near 26th Street where Vialpando?s body was found on July 5, 1988, Colorado Springs police detective James Isham told the court.

    The slaying was a mystery for decades, until a routine search by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation matched the DNA found on her body with Papol?s profile in a law enforcement database.

    An updated profile from another sample from Vialpando?s body had been added to the system in 2016, testified Rebecca Strub, a DNA technician leader for a crime lab that works with Colorado Springs police.

    Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Papol trembled in his chair at the defense table, bouncing up and down slightly. The judge denied a motion by defense attorney Richard Bednarski to delay his preliminary hearing due to his mental state, but allowed Papol to leave before witnesses were called after Bednarski said he was too disturbed to ?understand what?s going on.?

    When Chittum asked if he wanted to stay for the hearing, Papol quietly replied that he preferred to ?go back to jail.?

    A defendant may waive their right to be present at a preliminary hearing, but listening to the proceedings can offer the accused insight and some advantages, such as the opportunity to suggest questions to his or her attorney, said Phil Dubois, a Colorado Springs defense attorney who is unaffiliated with the case.

    Potential issues with Papol?s competency, however, raise questions about whether was mentally stable enough to make the decision to not attend the hearing, Dubois told The Gazette. ?Is he competent to give up that right? Incompetence typically means, no, he?s not,? Dubois said.

    Papol is prescribed Latuda, an anti-psychotic drug, to ease his symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, Bednarski said.

    The County Attorney?s Office said in a report filed Thursday that the Sheriff?s Office and the jail?s health care provider have said Papol is receiving necessary medical care, said Deputy District Attorney Austin Lux. However, patient confidentiality rules barred the Sheriff?s Office from providing specifics, Lux said.

    But officials have since learned that some of the information provided in the status report was inaccurate, sheriff?s Spokeswoman Jackie Kirby told The Gazette after the hearing.

    The County Attorney?s Office will file additional paperwork with the court Monday to ?correct the misinformation,? she said. She declined to provide further details about the inaccuracies, citing confidentiality requirements.

    Armor Correctional Health Services, the jail?s for-profit health care provider, has been criticized for allegedly subpar care at the county jail and other correctional health facilities across the country.

    At the time of his arrest in September, Papol had been held in a maximum security wing at the Pueblo hospital for 16 years, his attorneys previously said in court.

    He had been receiving care there after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in a pair of robberies committed in 2002. People acquitted under such circumstances can be confined until doctors determine they no longer suffer from a mental illness or are no longer a threat to themselves or others.

    He was transferred to the El Paso County jail upon his arrest in the 21-year-old cold case, where he has been held without bond.

    Papol?s attorneys complained in January that he hadn?t consistently received his psychiatric medications at the jail. Chittum then ordered that he be transferred to the Pueblo hospital. But the state responded in a motion in February that there were not enough beds to admit him, according to his defense team.

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    A judge ruled to move this decade old case to trial.

    James Papol is facing first degree murder charges for brutally killing and sexually assaulting Mary Lynn Renkel Vialpando. Her body was found in 1988 in an alley in Old Colorado City.

    Witnesses told a judge they matched DNA to that of James Papol. DNA was taken at the murder scene but it took more than a decade to match the DNA to Papol.

    Investigators involved in the case say they previously talked to Papol's mom. She told them Papol called her in a frantic state when he was in a mental hospital. He told her he was nervous because investigators had shown up at the hospital to take a DNA sample from him.

    Papol's attorneys told the judge they believed he was not mental competent to be in court for his hearing. A judge ruled that he must have a mental evaluation.

    A court date is set for April 5th to discuss the result of the evaluation.

    Papol is being held without bond.

    PREVIOUS 1/2/19:
    The man accused of brutally killing a young mother 30 years ago will be tried as an adult.

    James Papol's attorney wanted the judge to move this case to juvenile court. On Wednesday the judge made several decisions on how this case should move forward. The judge also ordered Papol to be moved to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo to receive medication and care.

    Papol was only 15 when the crime happened. In June of 1988 police found 24-year-old Mary Lynn Renkel Vialpando raped and beaten to death in an alley in Old Colorado City. It took police three decades to charge Papol for the murder of Mary Lynn.
    ORIGINAL STORY 9/27/18:

    11 News has learned new details about the arrest of a man facing murder charges for a decades-old cold case after the records were made public Thursday.

    On Tuesday, 11 News reported a judge had suppressed the documents for the arrest of James Papol. The records department told our reporter that in their computer system, it was as if the case did not exist.

    Authorities announced they had arrested Papol on Sept. 20 in connection with the murder of Mary Lynn Renkel Vialpando. On June 5, 1988, she was found dead in the alley north of the 2600 block of West Colorado Avenue. She was 24 at the time she died of blunt-force trauma to the head. The arrest papers stated she was also stabbed in the chest and stomach area three times and was sexually assaulted.

    According to the documents, DNA was collected from eight men at the time of the murder, including Vialpando’s husband, but authorities said they were not a match for the DNA found on Vialpando’s body.

    The court documents also reveal investigators had a DNA hit matching Papol on Nov. 30, 2017. In earlier interviews, District Attorney Dan May said this was one of the first cases in Colorado to collect DNA for evidence testing.

    “You have to know that at that time, there were no crime labs in the country that tested for DNA,” May said.

    Over the years, the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Cold Case Unit developed new DNA profiles as the technology changed.

    The case was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System in 2008 and the case was reviewed in 2010, but there were never any DNA matches, according to the arrest papers.

    On June 13, police interviewed Papol at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. He declined to make a statement, but police did collect a sample of his DNA with a warrant, according to the documents.

    It took about a month to get the DNA results. On July 10, the lab report confirmed the match with Papol.

    “The estimated frequency of this DNA profile in the general population is approximately 1 in 3.6 nonillion. A nonillion is defined as a cardinal number represented in the United States by 1 followed by thirty (30) zeroes,” the document stated.

    The report details how police interviewed three women in August who stated they had been in relationships Papol in the past. According to the women’s interviews, all three said Papol was violent and aggressive toward them. Two of the women said Papol had “hinted” that he had killed someone.

    Police also interviewed Papol’s mother on Aug. 16. She told investigators that at the time of the murder, she, Papol and her other children were staying at a motel across the street from where Vialpando’s body was found.

    According to the court documents, Papol’s mother told police she remembered Papol leaving for a couple hours the night of the murder, and she remembered being woken up by sirens in the morning.

    Papol’s mother told police that Papol told her he saw a body on a hill, touched it to see if it was alive and then the body rolled down a hill. Papol told his mom his DNA would be all over the body because of that. He also told her he stole jewelry from the body, according to the paperwork.

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