Murder suspect ruled incompetent to stand trial

Idaho StatesmanNovember 20, 2013 

Shawn Nathan Fisher

Fourth District Judge Ron Wilper found that Shawn Nathan Fisher, 35, suffers from mental illness and is unable to assist in his own defense.

Fisher was involuntarily committed early last month to a maximum security mental health program administered by the state Department of Correction. He is being held at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna for up to 90 days.

Wilper asked state prison officials to conduct a mental evaluation on Fisher and to report back on his mental condition with an opinion on whether Fisher is fit to proceed with his court case.

Fisher is accused of gunning down Matthew Mohler-Kerns, 28, as the victim, a worker at Murphy's Seafood and Steakhouse, drove home Feb. 19 after finishing his shift. Mohler-Kerns was shot in the head with a bullet fired from a .38-caliber revolver while he was in traffic on Franklin Road near Benjamin Lane.

Shortly before, Fisher confronted another driver near Vista Avenue. Fisher allegedly shot into that man's vehicle over a parking dispute. Police said Fisher rammed his car into the other driver's car and fired a shot into the driver's-side door.

Psychiatrist Camile LaCroix, working for the defense, found that Fisher suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, an illness in which a person loses touch with reality. The illness is often marked by delusions and the person hearing voices, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Craig Beaver, a psychologist who also examined Fisher for the defense, reported that Fisher exhibited bizarre behaviors and suffered from delusions, paranoia and heard voices while incarcerated since his arrest the night of the murder.

Beaver concluded that Fisher suffered from schizoaffective disorder, which features a combination of schizophrenia symptoms and mood disorders.

Chad Sombke, a psychologist working for prosecutors, found that Fisher was "irritable and somewhat paranoid and angry." He attributed that to Fisher's incarceration and his facing serious felony charges. He did not find that Fisher was suffering from mental illness.

Prosecutors argued that Fisher was mentally competent and should face trial. The defense pushed for delaying trial until Fisher was deemed fit.

"The defendant is in such mental condition that he is in need of supervision, evaluation, treatment and care," Wilper wrote in his order.

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