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Front Page » February 9, 2010 » Emery County News » Sharp to undergo further testing
Published 1,695 days ago

Sharp to undergo further testing


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

Peter Simon Sharp appeared in court on Feb. 2, before Judge George M. Harmond. Sharp has been held in the Emery County Detention Center since Oct. 21, 2009 in connection with the shooting death of his parents, William and Charmaine Sharp in Castle Dale.

Judge Harmond inquired of the defense and the state to see if they had received copies of the reports. They responded they have a copy of the reports. The court entered the findings and conclusions of the reports. Judge Harmond said he has reviewed the reports and the reports indicate the defendant suffers from a mental disorder. The type of disorder cannot be determined without further testing of the defendant.

Judge Harmond said, "The court having reviewed the reports of Dr. Eric Nielsen and Dr. Richard Wooten and having heard from counsel for the defendant and for the state now enters the following findings of fact, conclusions of law and order concerning the defendant's competency to stand trial.

"The court finds that the defendant is currently suffering from a mental disorder, although the precise nature of his illness has not been determined. Possible diagnoses include, but are not limited to catatonic schizophrenia, psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, intermittent explosive disorder, cognitive disorder NOS, schizotypal personality disorder and borderline intellectual functioning.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to comprehend and appreciate the charges or allegations against him, the court finds that the defendant cannot do so. He seems vaguely aware of the charges but has no specific understanding.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to disclose to counsel pertinent facts, events and states of mind, the court finds the defendant has not disclosed any pertinent information to his attorney and appears incapable to do so.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to comprehend and appreciate the range and nature of possible penalties that may be imposed in the proceedings against him, the court finds that while the defendant understands that a prison commitment is possible, he does not comprehend the range of sentencing options.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to engage in reasoned choice of legal strategies and options, the court finds the defendant cannot do so. He withdraws when questioned about the facts of the case, and his thinking processes are significantly disorganized, which would make it impossible to make rational decisions about the management of his case.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to understand the adversary nature of the proceedings against him the court finds the defendant has no clear understanding of the roles of courtroom personnel.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to manifest appropriate courtroom behavior, the court finds that although the defendant is unlikely to be disruptive in court, he cannot pay attention to or comprehend the courtroom proceedings.

"As to the defendant's present capacity to testify relevantly, the court finds that the defendant's thought disorders would make any meaningful testimony impossible.

"As to the impact of any mental disorder on the nature and quality of defendant's relationship with counsel, the court finds that the defendant does not fully appreciate his attorney's role which would have a significant impact on his attorney's ability to prepare an adequate defense.

"Based upon the foregoing findings of fact, the court concludes by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant is currently incompetent to stand trial in that he is currently suffering from a mental disorder and as a result he does not have a factual understanding of the proceedings against him. He does not have a rational understanding of the punishment specified for the offenses charged and such mental disorder results in the defendant's inability to consult with counsel and to participate in the proceedings against him with a reasonable degree of rational understanding.

"Wherefore, it is hereby ordered that the defendant be committed to the custody of the executive director of the Department of Human Services or his designee for the purpose of treatment intended to restore his competency to stand trial, and that the examiners designated by the executive director to assess the defendant's progress toward competency report back to the court within 90 days of this order.

"It is further ordered that the prosecutor and defense counsel forthwith provide information and materials relevant to the defendant's competency to the facility where the defendant is committed or to the person responsible for assessing his progress towards competency. In addition to any other materials, the prosecutor shall provide: copies of the charging document and supporting affidavits or other documents used in the determination of probable cause; arrest or incident reports prepared by law enforcement agencies pertaining to the charged offense and information concerning the defendant's known criminal history.

"The defendant is to be placed in a secure setting rather than a non-secure setting during the period of his commitment for treatment to restore competency," said Judge Harmond.

The defendant will be treated and in 90 days the case will be reviewed. The defendant will be transferred to the Utah State Hospital. A review hearing is scheduled for June 1.

Prosecutor for the state W. Brent Langston reported the state hospital does have bed space available and the defendant can be transported by the sheriff's office.

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February 9, 2010
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