Toufic Naddi is mentally competent to begin his third sanity trial to resolve whether he was sane or insane when he killed five relatives in El Cajon, a Superior Court judge ruled Monday.
Judge Terry O'Rourke, who earlier doubted Naddi's ability to understand the proceedings, will set a retrial date Wednesday.
Naddi, 48, of El Cajon was convicted June 8, 1988, of five first-degree murders in the slayings of his wife, her parents, her cousin, and her brother-in-law at the parents' home on Carlow Way on June 1, 1985.
The same jury deadlocked 11 to 1 that Naddi was sane at the time of the slayings, and a retrial was held several months ago.
O'Rourke declared a mistrial in the second trial because of what he termed prejudicial remarks made by the prosecutor about Lebanese terrorists in Beirut. Naddi is Lebanese.
If it is found that Naddi was sane at the time of the killings, he could be sentenced to death. If the jury determines he was insane, he will probably be committed to a mental hospital for the rest of his life.
The victims were Aida Naddi, 26; Habib Sabbagh, 73; Lillian Sabbagh, 58; Michael Sabbagh, 38; and Osama Mashini, 38. They were members of a prominent and wealthy family from Amman, Jordan.