Attorney says alleged cop killer is paranoid, delusional
February 24, 2014
The 33-year-old Rockwell City man who allegedly shot and killed a police officer during a September standoff is incapable of defending himself against a first-degree murder charge because he suffers from an unspecified mental disorder and "a paranoid and delusional thought process," the man's defense attorney alleges in his request to suspend the case.
Attorney Charles Kenville, of Fort Dodge, said his client, Corey Trott, refused to cooperate with a psychiatric evaluation that is typically required to support such a request. Criminal cases can be suspended under Iowa law if there is evidence that a defendant cannot appreciate the criminal charge, understand the court proceedings or effectively assist his defense.
Instead, Kenville cited Trott's past mental-health records and his statements to investigators, Kenville and a judge as evidence of the mental disorder.
A court hearing for the request is set for Tuesday in Fort Dodge.
Trott is set to stand trial in April for the Sept. 13 shooting of Jamie Buenting, a Rockwell City police officer who was part of a law-enforcement team that surrounded a house in that town in an attempt to arrest Trott for an alleged assault of his mother.
An all-night standoff ensued between officers and Trott, and at about 1:40 a.m., a single gunshot from the house struck Buenting, 37, between his chest and neck and killed him.
Trott surrendered three hours later and allegedly admitted to shooting Buenting when he was questioned by investigators, court records show. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Trott asked a judge last month to replace Kenville - his court-appointed attorney whom he accused of having "preconceived notions about my guilt" and aiding prosecutors - but the judge denied the request.
Kenville wrote in recent court documents that Trott has refused to meet with him since.
Scott Brown, an assistant Iowa Attorney General who is helping prosecute Trott, urged Kenville last week to divulge specific facts that would support suspending the case, according to court records.
District Judge Thomas Bice is expected to decide after Tuesday's hearing whether there is sufficient evidence to suspend. If he does, Brown has asked to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Trott.
Under Iowa law, defendants who are deemed unfit for trial receive psychiatric treatment for up to 18 months. Some are released from custody for the treatment, but those who are considered a danger to the public or who may flee to avoid trial are often confined at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, a prison in Oakdale, for treatment.
Psychiatrists provide written reports every one or two months that allow a judge to determine whether the defendant's condition is improving. After the 18-month period, Trott's felony charge might be dismissed if he is still unable to stand trial, but he could be confined indefinitely for further treatment. The murder charge could then be reinstated if "it appears thereafter that the defendant has regained competency," according to state law.
In an unrelated case, a judge ruled early this month that a former Carroll man, Dean Loew, who is accused of dealing marijuana and high-purity methamphetamine, cannot adequately defend himself against numerous felony charges and ordered he be confined at the Oakdale prison for treatment.
Loew's attorney, Robert Peterson, of Carroll, said Loew's "extensive drug usage" might have rendered him incapable of knowing right from wrong and aiding his defense against the criminal charges. A psychiatrist evaluated Loew and determined that he suffers from an unspecified mental disorder.
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