Competency evaluation ordered for man accused in 2014 Cedarwood Apartments slaying
A doctor will determine if a man accused of violently killing his 19-year-old neighbor in 2014 in Lawrence’s Cedarwood Apartments is fit to stand trial.
Rontarus Washington Jr., 20, faces one count each of first-degree murder and aggravated burglary. His trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
However, in March, Washington’s attorney, Angela Keck, requested a competency examination for her client.
Previously Keck referred Washington to a doctor who performed an evaluation, according to a motion filed in Douglas County District Court on March 9. The doctor interviewed Washington for around an hour and 15 minutes, administered several tests and reviewed relevant records.
The assessment took place between January 30 and February 3, the motion said.
The doctor found that Washington suffers from “several significant mental disorders including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Paranoid personality disorder, and Specific Learning Disorder, among others,” the motion said.
After the review, the doctor, Marc Quillen, determined that Washington is “incompetent to stand trial,” the motion said.
Because of Quillen’s findings, Keck argued there is reason to believe Washington is incompetent to stand trial and requested an evaluation.
Judge James McCabria granted Keck’s motion and ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Washington. He suspended the trial until the evaluation’s results are submitted.
For the evaluation Washington will be committed to the Larned State Hospital for no more than 60 days, McCabria’s order said.
In Kansas a person is deemed incompetent to stand trial when he or she cannot understand the nature or purpose of the criminal justice process or cannot “assist” in his or her own defense, McCabria’s order said.
As of Tuesday, Washington was still listed as an inmate of the Douglas County Jail.
Washington was arrested in January 2015 in Mississippi. He was 18 at the time. He fled the state after police say he killed Justina Altamirano Mosso inside her apartment at 1727 W. 24th St. on Nov. 7, 2014. Police previously described the scene as “violent.”
Mosso was buried in Guerrero, Mexico, about two weeks after her death.
Previously Washington asked Judge Kay Huff to lower his bond, originally set at $750,000, because he had children to care for. Huff denied that request.