Garden City man accused of killing uncle will undergo mental health evaluation – Idaho Press-Tribune

Posted: February 14, 2020 at 3:46 am

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

BOISE A magistrate judge has ordered a mental health evaluation, over prosecutors objections, for a Garden City man accused of stabbing and killing his uncle last month.

Emerson Buck IV, 30, appeared in court Thursday morning for what was scheduled for a preliminary hearing to decide if there was enough evidence in the case to move forward. However, Magistrate Judge Daniel Steckel granted Bucks attorneys request that Buck be evaluated by a mental health expert to help determine if hes mentally fit to stand trial, meaning Buck must be mentally healthy enough to understand the courtroom proceedings and assist in his own defense.

Buck, initially charged with second-degree murder, now faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of his uncle, James Buck, his mothers brother. Hes also charged with the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of that alleged crime.

At Emerson Bucks arraignment, a prosecutor said the three lived together in the 200 block of West 40th Street in Garden City. Early on the morning of Jan. 19, Emerson Bucks mother awoke to hear him shouting in another room of the home, and found her brother bleeding on the floor, a prosecutor said in court last month. Emerson Buck had fled, and police arrested him not long afterward near Veterans Memorial Parkway and Chinden Boulevard.

Buck has appeared in court in Ada County on other cases before, and prosecutors used that in their argument against Emerson Buck receiving a mental health evaluation. In court Thursday, Whitney Welsh, one of the cases prosecutors, argued a competency evaluation wasnt necessary because Emerson Buck had appeared in court before judges and alongside attorneys before and no one has raised any concerns up to this point.

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a written response to the request for a mental health evaluation, in which they argued that Emerson Buck seemed to understand the judicial process when he appeared in court before.

Many hearings involve back-and-forth discussion between the court and Mr. Buck directly, according to the document.

Regardless, Steckel ordered the evaluation to take place, calling the process only prudent.

Thanks! You'll start receiving the headlines tomorrow!

Ive found Mr. Buck to be an intelligent man, but nevertheless his attorney has expressed some legitimate concerns, Steckel said.

Since April 2018, the Ada County Prosecutors Office has charged nine people with first- or second-degree murder, and Buck will be the fifth one ordered to undergo a competency evaluation. In Idaho, one of only four states without an insanity defense, only a judge can declare a person fit or unfit to stand trial, but judges rely on reports from mental health experts when making that decision.

If Emerson Buck is found incompetent to proceed, he would be committed to a state hospital or the ward at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, where he would receive treatment to restore his competency. If that happens, he would return to court to face the charges against him.

Steckel scheduled another hearing in the case for March 5.

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Garden City man accused of killing uncle will undergo mental health evaluation - Idaho Press-Tribune

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