Crime

Trial for Boise mass stabbing suspect pushed back until 2020. Here’s why.

In this Statesman file photo, Timmy Kinner appears at a hearing about his mental competency Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. Kinner is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 3-year-old girl, and eight counts of aggravated assault in connection with a June 30, 2018, attack at a refugee family’s birthday party.
In this Statesman file photo, Timmy Kinner appears at a hearing about his mental competency Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. Kinner is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 3-year-old girl, and eight counts of aggravated assault in connection with a June 30, 2018, attack at a refugee family’s birthday party. doswald@idahostatesman.com

By the time Timmy Earl Kinner Jr.’s trial begins, a year and a half will have passed since a mass stabbing at a Boise apartment complex. Kinner is accused of stabbing nine people at or near a birthday party, including a 3-year-old girl who later died.

On Thursday, Judge Nancy Baskin agreed to move Kinner’s trial to Jan. 13, 2020. It was previously set to begin Jan. 31, 2019.

Kinner’s attorneys requested the trial date be changed, arguing that it would take a year to prepare for a high-profile death penalty case. The prosecution didn’t object.

“Based on my understanding of the time frames for death penalty cases in this and other jurisdictions, I think that’s pretty much within what we expect to see or what we’ve seen in the past on these types of cases,” Deputy Prosecutor Dan Dinger said.

Baskin said the public and victims have a right to a timely trial, too, and she asked the defense to lay out why they need a full year beyond the trial date that was already set.

Defense attorney David Smethers listed numerous things, including needing to get “all kinds of experts,” a challenge to the grand jury transcript and motions related to the indictment. He also referenced Kinner’s extensive criminal history in other states, including Tennessee and California. Kinner, originally from Tennessee, has been a homeless drifter since getting out of prison earlier this year.

Dinger told the judge that the victims and their families were already made aware that the trial date might be pushed back that far. When the trial begins, it will run four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, as Baskin has conflicts on Wednesday.

This is the second time Kinner’s trial has been delayed. It was originally set for Jan. 3, 2019, then pushed to Jan. 31. Court officials have previously said they expect the trial will take about eight weeks.

Baskin also closed next month’s competency hearing to the public, except to victims, victim-witness coordinators and an investigator. Kinner will appear in court Dec. 13 at a hearing to determine whether he’s mentally fit to stand trial.

On Thursday, Baskin agreed to a defense motion to close that hearing to the public due to the “highly personal” medical information that will likely be shared.

Baskin asked for an update on whether the court-appointed psychiatrist had met with Kinner. Dinger didn’t know, and Smethers said that it didn’t appear that the psychiatrist had met with him.

Baskin previously ordered a psychiatrist to assess Kinner after a forensic psychologist had difficulty getting the defendant to meet with him; he was unable to draw any conclusions from the one time he did meet with the defendant.

The judge reminded prosecutors and the defense that she previously ordered the psychiatrist to file the assessment of Kinner on or by Nov. 29. She ordered them to set up a conference call with the psychiatrist to discuss the deadline for filing the report.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413

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