Man Who Attacked Father With Hammer Still Incompetent
By Ken K. Gourdin
At last word available to me, the competency of a Utah man who attacked his elderly father with a hammer remains in question more than three years after the attack. See coverage of the case in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News here (last accessed June 12, 2017): http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865644472/Mt-Olympus-man-remains-incompetent-to-face-murder-charge-in-fathers-death.html.
I’ll defer to the professionals on the issue of Mr. Robbins’ competence. However, having the presence of mind to don a pair of latex gloves before committing one’s crimes seems to speak to a level of forethought and planning not typically demonstrated by the incompetent. It also seems to militate against the idea that the gravity of his acts is mitigated by the prospect that they were committed in the heat of passion.
I think his defense attorney’s going to have a difficult time explaining away the gloves if he attempts to argue along those lines in court. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
When another poster pointed out that sanity at the time of the crime (i.e., an actor’s ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions before, or at least as, he undertook them) and sanity at the time of trial (the accused’s ability to understand the charges against him and to participate in his own defense) are separate issues, I responded, “Fair enough, but the issues can, and often do, overlap.”