Waterford Township — A district judge ordered a forensic exam of mental competency Wednesday for a Pontiac man charged in a fatal stabbing during a New Year’s Day party.
Todd Henke, 52, of Pontiac, described by investigators as having a history of crime and violence, is charged with open murder in the death of Kurth Houghteling, 43, of Clarkston, during a party attended by several people on Ida Terrace.
Henke appeared before Waterford District Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski on Wednesday for a pre-exam conference where his court-appointed attorney, Eric Wilson, immediately requested the mental competency examination because of his problems communicating with Henke.
The competency review will be done at the state forensic center for psychiatry in Ypsilanti and normally takes several weeks to determine whether someone is mentally competent to stand trial.
Police said they were dispatched to the crime scene around 10 p.m. where they found the victim stabbed once in the chest with a kitchen knife. Waterford Township Police Chief Daniel McCaw said police have no motive in the killing. He said Henke and the victim were among those sitting around and watching TV when the alleged knife attack occurred for unknown reasons.
Henke also faces a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon in an alleged knife attack on a second man in the home before fleeing the scene.
Henke, who was arrested without incident later in Pontiac, also has outstanding warrants for operating a motor vehicle while his license is suspended-second offense, and failure to show up for a hearing on a malicious destruction of property and assault and battery case.
Court records indicate Henke has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for assaultive crimes and drug possession. Two other people have obtained personal protection orders against Henke in past years because of alleged assaults and threats he made and their fears he would ultimately harm them.
The death is the first reported slaying in Oakland County in 2014.