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Competency Hearing Delayed For Beaumont Boy’s Accused Killer

Earlier this month, Judge David Downing ruled Joseph Duncan competent to stand trial.

The judge even appointed a psychologist to determine if Duncan could act as his own lawyer. But after reviewing past mental evaluations, the judge may change his mind.

“Based on what I see at this point there is substantial evidence he’s not competent,” the Hon. Downing said Friday during a competency hearing for Duncan.

The evaluations came from five doctors who examined duncan during his 2005 trial for kidnapping and murder in Idaho. That judge found Duncan competent.

Now, the court here must decide if he is competent to be tried for the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez of Beaumont back in 1997.

“There is a big issue of mental competence to represent himself and to stand trial,” Judge Downing said. “I don’t know what the answer is at this point. The issue does leap out when you read all five reports.”

A delay will give the District Attorney’s office more time to review Duncan’s mental evaluations. It got them just Thursday.

The judge is expected to decide Duncan’s competency next month.

“Dependent on what the court decides to do, if the court has a doubt, what happens is criminal proceedings are suspended until that issue is resolved,” prosecutor Otis Sterling explained after the proceedings.

Two court ordered doctors would then be appointed to evaluate Duncan, something the convicted killer is not willing to do.

“I have no intention of cooperating with any state-appointed doctors,” Duncan said in court Friday.

Even though Duncan’s attorney doubts his client is competent to stand trial and wants the court-ordered evaluations, he agreed to delay a decision.

Duncan will be back in court on March 13th.

KESQ News Team

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