Man charged with attempted murder near homeless camp declared unfit to stand trial, ordered to Larned State Hospital
photo by: Mugshot courtesy of the Kansas Department of Corrections
A man charged with attempted murder in connection with a stabbing near the city-supported homeless camp in North Lawrence was declared unfit to stand trial on Friday and was ordered to treatment at Larned State Hospital — an institution to which he has been committed multiple times.
The man, Tristen Lamont Hollins, 41, is charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of attempted first-degree murder. The charge is in connection with the stabbing of Bryan “Queen” Griffin on Aug. 11 near the pedestrian tunnels just north of the city support site, as the Journal-World has reported.
Griffin, a resident of a nearby unsanctioned camp, spent a few days in a Topeka hospital but was released without needing major surgery.
Another man, Vance Tyler Swallow, 39, of Lawrence, a resident of the city support site, was arrested just weeks before the stabbing incident on suspicion of aggravated battery against Hollins. Swallow claimed at his first court appearance that he was “protecting the camp” from Hollins. The affidavit in support of Swallow’s arrest has been sealed.
Hollins told the court at Friday’s competency hearing that he should “not be incarcerated for any reason” because he was a “divine judge.”
A psychological evaluation was conducted earlier this month by a staff member from Bert Nash Community Health Center who concluded that Hollins showed signs of mental illness that would make it difficult for his attorney, Michael Clarke, to work with him to effectively prepare for trial, Judge Stacey Donovan said.
Hollins then addressed the court, saying that he is an “articulate” man with some college education.
“I am good at understanding things, certain wisdom that is outside of the curriculum,” Hollins said.
Donovan then addressed Clarke and Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden, who both said that they agreed with the findings of the psychological evaluation.
Hollins then told Donovan that he too was in a “position of authority.”
“I am actually a judge myself. I am not to be incarcerated for any reason. This is relating to divine government,” Hollins said.
Donovan said that Hollins would need to be treated at Larned State Hospital, to which Hollins objected and asked if he could be reevaluated or treated locally. He said that he had been to Larned multiple times and that he had heard the hospital had a long wait list. He said he didn’t want to wait in jail for a year before being treated.
Donovan said she wasn’t sure whether he could be treated locally, given the severity of his charge.
Hollins asked if Donovan could expedite his mental health treatment, to which she said she would try but that he would be treated at Larned as quickly as the hospital was able.
“Mr. Hollins, I have to make a decision based on the Kansas statute as I am a Kansas judge,” Donovan said.
Donovan then ordered Hollins to be treated at Larned State Hospital and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 12 for the parties to update the court on Hollins’ treatment.
Hollins has been in custody since his arrest on Aug. 11 and is being held on a $1 million cash or surety bond.
Court records indicate that Hollins has been treated at Larned State Hospital multiple times to restore his mental competency after he was accused of violent crimes. Most recently he was committed to Larned during a 2019 case in Sedgwick County in which he was originally charged with felony aggravated domestic battery for choking a person, misdemeanor domestic battery and misdemeanor theft.
He was arrested on the charges in May of 2019, and a year later was deemed unfit for trial and was ordered to undergo treatment. He returned to the court “competent” in August of 2020 before being declared incompetent again in November of 2020, according to court records. His competency was restored again in February of 2021, but he was deemed incompetent again a month later.
He was lastly deemed competent to stand trial in May of 2022 and entered a plea to an amended charge of felony aggravated battery and the misdemeanor count of domestic battery and theft. He was sentenced to time served and released to parole, according to court records.
Hollins was also convicted of felony battery on a law enforcement agent in 2018 for an incident that occurred in 2015 in Sedgwick County. He was sent to Larned State Hospital twice in 2016 because he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, before he was sentenced in January of 2018.
At the time of that conviction Hollins’ criminal history placed him in the highest category on the Kansas sentencing guidelines, and he was to be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and up to 11.3 years in prison, but the Sedgwick County District Court granted him a departure down to 34 months, according to court records. He had asked the court for probation in addition to the reduced prison sentence, but that request was denied.
Hollins has numerous other convictions dating back to 1999, including two felony counts of aggravated robbery, misdemeanor DUI in 2004, misdemeanor escape from custody in 2010, multiple misdemeanor battery convictions in 2011 and 2012, and in 2015 he was convicted of two counts each of misdemeanor “ethnic intimidation” battery and “ethnic intimidation” criminal damage, according to court records.