Judge: South Park Murder Suspect Competent to Stand Trial

ST:

A King County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Isaiah Kalebu, accused of torturing and raping two women, and killing one of them, in their South Park home in July 2009, is mentally competent to stand trial.

Since last month, Judge Michael Hayden has heard testimony from mental health experts who have examined Kalebu. When testimony in the case concluded on Monday afternoon Hayden ruled that Kalebu is mentally competent to stand trial.

A pre-trial hearing will be held before Hayden on Jan. 14.

Defense attorney Michael Schwartz said that Kalebu suffers from severe bipolar disorder and has argued that Kalebu should not be tried. On Monday, Hayden heard from a defense expert and a rebuttal witness from the state.

Last summer, Hayden ruled that Kalebu was competent to stand trial, but in late August, lawyers for the defense and prosecution agreed that his mental competency should be re-evaluated. Doctors at Western State Hospital have since determined that he is not mentally ill.