A Utah judge has ruled that a man accused of killing two people is not competent for trial, disagreeing with prosecutors’ assertions that Brandon Beau Warren has been faking a mental illness.
Warren was charged in October 2016 with two counts of first-degree felony murder, accused of shooting Stevan Chambers and Shelli Marie Brown in August 2015 in Magna. He also is facing 11 firearms-related charges.
But a month before the murder charges were filed, Warren was deemed incompetent for trial in an unrelated case and sent to the Utah State Hospital for treatment, stalling the murder case from the onset.
Last month, prosecutors argued that 26-year-old Warren was feigning mental illness to avoid going to trial and to stay out of the Salt Lake County jail. They asked for 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy to rule the Warren was competent to proceed, return him to the jail and move the case forward.
But Warren’s defense attorneys argued that because state hospital staffers don’t believe Warren is mentally ill, he has thus far been unable to receive any medication there.
In his Tuesday ruling, Skanchy wrote that Warren exhibits “paranoid and delusional thinking” and noted he has never been treated with medication. The judge ruled that Warren should remain at the state hospital and receive medication.
A new court date was not immediately set.
A forensic psychiatrist who testified at a hearing last month said that while Warren has a bi-polar diagnosis and claims that the government and hospital staff are terrorists, he also exhibits signs that show he is not mentally ill.
Prosecutors had argued the defendant was “playing the system” to stall court proceedings.
Warren is accused of fatally shooting Chambers, 26, in a roadway near 2880 South and 9100 West in Magna on Aug. 17, 2015. Brown, 26, was found dead two days later at Magna park, which is about a half-mile from where Chambers was shot.
Shell casings from a .380-caliber gun was found near both bodies, according to charging documents, and ballistics testing found the casings were all fired from the same gun.