Westland man found competent to stand trial for murder

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Wayne County Court Judge Qiana Lillard found 38-year-old Westland man Robert Gonzalez mentally competent to stand an upcoming jury trial for the alleged murder of Dearborn resident Ismaeel Abdulla.

During a Feb. 22 competency hearing, Lillard, the defense attorney and prosecuting attorneys agreed to the findings by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline.

Findings aren’t made public, but Wayne County Prosector’s Office Assistant Attorney Michael Reynolds said Gonzalez was found criminally responsible and not legally insane for the alleged murder of Abdulla.

According to court records, the competency evaluation and criminal responsibility ordered on Oct. 12, the competency report was received on Dec. 12 and the initial competency hearing was scheduled for Jan. 23 before it was moved to February.

Gonzalez also did not seek an independent assessment separate from the evaluation done at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry. He is scheduled to return to court on March 29 for a final conference and April 29 for a jury trial both in Lillard’s courtroom.

Last February, Gonzalez was charged and arraigned on first degree murder, felony firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and being a four-time habitual offender charges in the 19th District Court by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

The murder took place on Feb. 23, 2018 when Abdulla, 37, was shot about 8 p.m. outside his apartment in the area of Whittington and Canterbury.

Once at the scene, officers observed Abdulla had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head, a Dearborn police press release said. First responders provided care to Abdulla, but he died as a result of his injuries.

During the preliminary investigation, detectives identified Gonzalez as a suspect, along with the vehicle he was driving, and made an arrest at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 24.

Dearborn detectives worked with the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office to locate the vehicle which led them to an address in a Madison Township housing community.

When Dearborn officers and the Michigan State Police Emergency Support Team arrived at the scene, Gonzalez fled on foot. After a brief foot chase he was apprehended in a parking lot off U.S. 223, according to the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office.

“Based upon preliminary interviews it appears that the parties involved are acquaintances,” the Dearborn police press release read.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)