Mental competency of Boise murder suspect still in question

jsowell@idahostatesman.comMay 30, 2014 

Shawn Nathan Fisher

Shawn Nathan Fisher has been released from a maximum security mental health program operated by the Idaho Department of Correction, but prosecution and defense attorneys continue to argue whether Fisher is competent to stand trial.

Last October, Ada County 4th District Judge Ronald Wilper found that Fisher, accused in the shooting death of Matthew Mohler-Kerns, 28, suffers from mental illness and therefore is unable to assist in his defense. Wilper assigned Fisher to the mental health program at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna.

After evaluations in February and April, state psychologist Kimel Limon found Fisher to be competent and said he could continue with his court proceedings.

But last month, defense attorney Eric Rolfsen filed a motion contesting the finding of competency. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 23.

On Tuesday, Judge Jason Scott, who took over the case after Wilper retired, issued an order asking the state to turn over to the defense its test data regarding Fisher’s mental health evaluations.

Mohler-Kerns, 28, was gunned down as he drove home Feb. 19, 2013, after completing his shift at Murphy’s Seafood and Steakhouse. 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 allegedly confronted another driver near Vista Avenue. Fisher rammed his car into the other driver’s vehicle, police said, and then fired a shot into the driver’s-side door.

Psychiatrist Camile LaCroix, working for the defense, earlier 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 while incarcerated, Fisher exhibited bizarre behaviors, suffered from delusions and paranoia, and heard voices.

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