:: The Hutchinson News | Accused knife thrower competent to stand trial ::

Accused knife thrower competent to stand trial

By Jason Probst
The Hutchinson News
Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Hutchinson man accused of throwing a knife at his landlord will be present next week for a preliminary hearing on aggravated assault after District Judge Joe McCarville found the man competent to stand trial.

Kelly Swaney, 39, of Hutchinson, is charged with one count of aggravated assault for reportedly throwing a knife at Natalie Woods-Goertzen on July 21, 2006, at the Leon Apartment offices. Police reported that Swaney was upset about someone taking his mail, specifically a sweepstakes letter he had been expecting.

Public defender Kiehl Rathbun filed a motion to determine Swaney’s competency, claiming that the defendant – who suffers from schizophrenia, borderline mental retardation and intermittent explosive disorder – was limited in his ability to assist in his own defense.

Swaney also is deaf and mute and requires an interpreter to communicate with his attorney and the court.

Initially, Horizons Mental Health Center in Hutchinson determined that Swaney wasn’t competent to stand trial, and furthermore, likely wouldn’t gain the skills needed to become competent.

According to state law, then-District Judge Steve Becker sent Swaney to Larned State Hospital for treatment and evaluation. After 90 days in the facility, the hospital staff reported that Swaney “now fulfills the criteria to be considered competent to stand trial.” Continue

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