Idaho

Judge grants gag order in Kinner case, sets date for competency hearing

In this Statesman file photo, Timmy Kinner appears at a hearing about his mental competency on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise.
In this Statesman file photo, Timmy Kinner appears at a hearing about his mental competency on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. doswald@idahostatesman.com

A 4th District Court judge will decide in May whether mass stabbing suspect Timmy Earl Kinner Jr. is fit to stand trial after receiving treatment for several months in a secure mental health facility at the state prison, according to court records.

A mental competency hearing has been scheduled for May 17; it will be closed to the public. Kinner will remain at the prison facility until a decision is made on his competency.

A jury trial is still set for Jan 13, 2020, for Kinner in the 2018 stabbing of nine people, including a 3-year-old girl who died.

Kinner was in court Wednesday for a hearing on several matters, with part of it closed and part open.

Court minutes indicate that Judge Nancy Baskin granted the defense’s request for a gag order order prohibiting witnesses, victims, attorneys and others from discussing the case with the media. The defense said the “inordinate amount of media coverage” has possibly violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

“The court finds good cause for the granting of a gag order,” Baskin said, according to a recording from the open portion of the hearing. She said she intended to sign the order granting that motion. The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday confirmed that the gag order was granted.

Baskin did not rule on a motion filed by the defense asking for disclosure of the votes of the grand jury that indicted Kinner. Prosecutors filed a motion objecting to the disclosure of the juror votes. They argued that grand jury proceedings are confidential so that jurors are free from outside influence or intimidation.

Kinner, 31, is accused of stabbing nine people at a 3-year-old’s birthday party in Boise last June. He’s charged with 13 felonies, including first-degree murder in Ruya Kadir’s death. If convicted of murder, he faces the death penalty.

Late last year, a psychiatrist who evaluated Kinner determined that he was not competent to stand trial, a finding that prosecutors challenged at a multiday evidentiary hearing in December and January.

On Jan. 16, Baskin ruled that Kinner is “dangerously mentally ill,” unable to assist in his own defense and a flight risk. She committed him to a secure mental health facility at the maximum security prison south of Boise for up to 90 days of treatment, with the goal of restoring his mental competency.

Kinner’s mental health came into question long before he arrived in Boise, as did signs of drug use. A judge was asked in 2009 to send him through anger management training and substance abuse treatment, and his mental competency was evaluated in 2012, Tennessee and federal court records show.

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