Accused murderer back in jail

An Odessa man accused of beating his uncle to death four years ago is back in the Ector County jail after going through a competency restoration program.

Eusebio Luna Lerma, 41, was arrested on a murder charge in connection with the Feb. 15, 2019 death of Eliopoldo Estorga, 64. Within a matter of weeks, his attorney at the time, Justin Low, asked for a psychiatric evaluation stating Lerma didn’t appear to understand he was in jail or what he was being told.

The motion was granted and Low notified the Ector County District Attorney’s Office he intended to pursue an insanity defense.

A doctor determined Lerma was incompetent to stand trial and in June 2019 now retired Judge James Rush ordered Lerma go through a competency restoration program at the state psychiatric facility in Big Spring.

Low later became an Ector County District Court judge and defense attorney Michael McLeaish and Jason Leach were appointed to represent Lerma.

In early February doctors determined Lerma is now competent to stand trial and he was returned to the Ector County jail on Monday. A pretrial hearing is scheduled to be held March 7 in District Court Judge Lori Ruiz-Crutcher’s courtroom.

According to Odessa Police Department reports, officers received an assault call around 11 p.m. Feb. 15, 2019 in the 400 block of Ann Street and found Estorga suffering from head and facial wounds. He was taken to Medical Center Hospital where he later died.

Lerma, who had left the scene prior to officers’ arrival, was later located and admitted he’d fought with Estorga, who was also a neighbor of his.