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Shooter may be incompetent for trial

DOUG MATTSON, Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY – Two out of three doctors who examined alleged triple murderer Scott Thorpe think he’s incompetent to stand trial, while the other plans to interview him a second time.

Thorpe appeared at a brief hearing Monday in Nevada County Superior Court for a review of his mental competency, but the hearing was postponed until March 26.

By then, Dr. Hadley Osran, a forensic psychiatrist at the state mental hospital in Atascadero, hopes to have interviewed him at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility.

Osran, who was recommended by the prosecution, first interviewed Thorpe on Feb. 3.

“In most cases, I would not need such follow-up evaluation, but given the magnitude of the case and the apparent psychiatric trouble of the defendant, I believe this is warranted,” Osran said in a Feb. 28 letter to Judge John Darlington.

Osran, who wasn’t at the hearing, also wrote that he wanted to assess Thorpe’s progress from his first evaluation.

Two doctors recommended by the defense already found Thorpe incompetent, Anderson said.

Dr. Miles Esner, a Sacramento psychiatrist, interviewed the alleged gunman in late January, and Dr. Alfredo Amezaga, a Reno psychologist, interviewed him last month.

Reached by phone, Amezaga said he found Thorpe had a serious psychotic disorder, but declined to elaborate.

“Mr. Thorpe indeed has a psychiatric disorder, and on the basis of the disorder, I found him to be incompetent – at the present time,” he said.

To be ruled incompetent, Thorpe must show he doesn’t understand the legal process he faces or that he can’t rationally assist in his own defense.

The lawyers can either agree on Thorpe’s mental status, or a judge or jury can decide the matter. If deemed incompetent, Thorpe could be held at a state mental hospital indefinitely, suspending criminal proceedings.

Thorpe, 40, of Smartville, faces three counts each of murder and attempted murder for the Jan. 10 back-to-back shooting sprees at the county Behavioral Health Department and Lyon’s Restaurant.

The gunfire killed three and seriously wounded two, and a Behavioral Health worker was injured jumping from a second-floor window.

Tricia Gies, the ex-wife of slain Lyon’s assistant manager Mike Markle, attended Monday’s hearing. She called Thorpe methodical in the shootings and had no doubts about his mental status.

“I think if he was competent enough at the time, I think he’s competent now,” she said.

The Yuba City woman plans to attend every hearing she can, and her afternoon job in juvenile criminal justice allows her to do that.

“I don’t want (Thorpe) to think nobody cares enough to be here, because we do,” she said.

The day also marked the 20th birthday of Laura Wilcox, who was slain at the Behavioral Health Department. Her parents, Nick and Amanda Wilcox, spent the day with Laura’s friends, some of whom came from out of town, and received several cards and phone calls.

They also had birthday pie – apple, Laura Wilcox’s favorite.

“It’s actually ended up being not too bad of a day so far,” Amanda Wilcox said. “I was dreading it.”


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