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Psychiatric review finds Cloverdale murder suspect ‘unable to assist in own defense’

Murder defendant Alexander Mark Smith appeared in court Monday by video from Deschutes County Jail
Deschutes County Circuit Court
Murder defendant Alexander Mark Smith appeared in court Monday by video from Deschutes County Jail

(Update: Prosecutor explains 'unable to assist in own defense' process)

But prosecutors plan to arrange their own evaluation of Alexander Smith

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A psychiatric evaluation of a Redmond man accused of killing a Cloverdale woman earlier this year has found he is unable to aid and assist in his own defense, Alexander Mark Smith’s defense attorney said in court Monday, but prosecutors said they are working to secure their own evaluation.

The 22-year-old former OSU student appeared by video from the Deschutes County Jail for Monday’s brief “aid and assist” hearing before Circuit Judge Alison Emerson.

Smith is accused of second-degree murder in the killing of Tina Klein-Lewis, 55, outside her Cloverdale Road home this spring. She was found dead by her boyfriend in the bucket of a tractor, and Smith was arrested three days later, a few miles away, on Jordan Road.

The 12-page evaluation by psychologist and forensic evaluator Andrew Orf of Salem-based Lithia Forensics & Consulting was filed in court last week, but sealed from public view. Smith’s defense attorney, Jason Wheeless, said it found that “the defendant is unable to aid and assist” in his own defense.

But Deputy District Attorney Brandi Shroyer said, “We believe there are some holes in Mr. Orf’s evaluation we need to fill out before we would want to stipulate to anything.”

“We’re working to find an evaluator,” she added, requesting a one-week set-over; Emerson agreed to another status review next Monday morning.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Nelson explained in general terms to NewsChannel 21: "If an individual is found unable to aid and assist in their own defense, the case is essentially put on hold until they are able to do so. 

"This means that they will be treated until they can understand the criminal charges against them, understand the decision they will need to make, be able to help their defense attorney and participate in the court process. At that point, the criminal process resumes.  It does not affect the charges or potential sentence," Nelson added. 

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts
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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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