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Archive for Saturday, August 9, 2003

Judge grants 6th delay in murder trial

Competency of defendant in son’s I-70 slaying still being questioned

August 9, 2003

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— For the sixth time in 12 months, the attorney for Raymond Boothe, a Missouri man accused of stabbing his 11-year-old developmentally disabled son and leaving him to die on the Kansas Turnpike, said in court he needed more time to gather information on his client's mental competence.

As he has in the past, Leavenworth County District Judge Frederick Stewart on Friday went along with court-appointed attorney Gary Fuller's request, scheduling a seventh hearing for 11 a.m. Aug. 29.

But the judge let Fuller know his patience was wearing thin.

"This is getting old," Stewart said.

Fuller said Lawrence Police provided him with a copy of Boothe's videotaped confession and that he had forwarded the tape to a psychiatrist he'd hired to conduct an independent assessment of Boothe's mental competence.

Fuller said the psychiatrist's evaluation would be finished in two weeks.

Boothe, who has a history of mental illness, remains jailed in Leavenworth County.

At Boothe's April 16 preliminary hearing, Leavenworth County detectives testified he had confessed to dragging 11-year-old Levi Boothe into a ditch alongside the turnpike, stabbing him several times with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and a "folding Buck knife," and flinging the boy back onto the turnpike.

Boothe allegedly told detectives he killed his son because the boy had "given him the finger" and was "an abomination."

Levi Boothe's disabilities prevented him from talking or understanding the implications of an obscene gesture. He could barely walk.

The boy's body was found along the turnpike in Leavenworth County, about three miles from the Douglas County line. Later, Raymond Boothe crashed the family car in southwest Lawrence in an apparent suicide attempt.

Boothe and his three other children, who were sleeping in the back seat and wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, suffered minor injuries.

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