Joshua Alberts was scheduled to go to court Monday and learn how long he would spend in prison for killing his girlfriend’s ex-husband.
Instead, he reportedly overdosed on medication just before his planned sentencing. He survived, and before his rescheduled hearing in June, he must now undergo a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation 4th District Judge Melissa Moody ordered at a prosecutor’s request.
Details of what Alberts took and how he got it were not available. Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Andrea Dearden said the incident is being investigated, but not as a criminal act. Privacy laws prevent disclosing information about any conditions or prescriptions Alberts might have, as well as whether the overdose was intentional or accidental, she said.
Jail policy requires that all pharmaceuticals be distributed by health service staff members and documented in the inmate’s medical record.
Here’s what the head of the jail’s transport team said in court Monday during the aborted 9 a.m. sentencing hearing:
“At about 6:30 this morning one of my staff went to get Mr. Alberts ready for court,” Sgt. John Harris said. “He was somewhat unresponsive. After some investigation, it turned out he had overdosed on some medication and he’s currently getting some medical treatment.”
A jury convicted Alberts, 40, of second-degree murder in January for shooting Joshua Warren at least a dozen times after Warren arrived at the Whispering Pines apartment complex Feb. 20, 2016. He had been charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors said he lured his victim to the complex on false pretenses before walking up to Warren’s car and opening fire.
Warren family members and others gathered Monday for Alberts’ sentencing hearing, and the judge apologized for the inconvenience.
“There’s obviously a lot of people that ... have traveled from far away to be here,” Moody said. “All I can do is apologize to you for wasting your time.”
She rescheduled Alberts’ sentencing for June 5 and said she would change that date again if necessary for the convenience of Warren’s family. Second-degree murder is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447