Boise mass stabbing suspect reaches out to officials from jail —again, prosecutors say

Timmy Earl Kinner Jr.
Timmy Earl Kinner Jr.

Timmy Earl Kinner Jr.’s fitness to stand trial will be will be discussed at a hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise.

Ada County prosecutors have also asked a judge to review a letter Kinner sent to prosecutors this week — which they say they have not read.

Kinner, a 30-year-old homeless man, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 3-year-old Ruya Kadir and eight counts of aggravated battery in the alleged stabbing/slashing of eight others, including five children. All of the victims of the June 30 stabbing were refugees, and many were attending Kadir’s birthday party at the Wylie Street Station Apartments.

In a motion filed Thursday, prosecutors said they received the letter addressed to deputy prosecutor Tessie Buttram from Kinner on Monday.

The letter appeared in Buttram’s inbox on Tuesday. The end was sliced open, as is all incoming mail to the office, prosecutors said in court documents. They said no one in the office read the letter, and Deputy Prosecutor Dan Dinger advised a jail deputy who had reviewed the letter on its way out of the jail not to discuss the contents with anyone. The jail deputy had indicated the letter had to do with legal work sent to Kinner.

Prosecutors said Kinner’s lead attorney, David Smethers, expressed concern that the jail deputy had read Kinner’s outgoing mail, court documents show.

“We have concerns about the jail opening Mr. Kinner’s outgoing mail,” Smethers said in an email to prosecutors. “I cannot envision any circumstance where outgoing mail could implicate jail security.”

Prosecutors said an Idaho Court of Appeals decision had found that inmates should have no expectation of privacy in communication that isn’t “privileged,” or confidential. Kinner has tried to contact and arrange meeting with police on more than one occasion but his attorneys have disputed that he was actually seeking police in at least one case.

Fourth District Court Judge Nancy Baskin ordered a mental competency evaluation at Kinner’s last court appearance on Sept. 5.

If Kinner is found to be unable to assist in his own defense, he will be sent to one of the state hospitals for treatment. The judge will then later decide if he has improved enough to continue.

Smethers raised questions about the defendant’s fitness at the Sept. 5 court hearing. He asked Baskin to bar police and prosecutors access to Kinner if his attorneys aren’t present due to their concerns about unspecified mental issues.

Baskin granted the defense’s motion to bar access to Kinner by police and other officials, except for sheriff’s deputies at the jail, but only until the results of his competency evaluation has been considered by the court. She will revisit this access issue at the Sept. 28 hearing.

Ada County prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty. They have until late October to file their intent (60 days from Kinner’s entry of plea on Aug. 28).

An eight-week jury trial is scheduled to start Jan. 3, 2019. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 13.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413