Accused cop killer Durham still not competent for trial
The man accused of killing a Wayne State University police officer and shooting two Detroit cops remains mentally incompetent to stand trial, it was revealed during a Friday court hearing.
Because Raymond Durham is unable to stand trial in the shooting case, Wayne County prosecutors on Friday dismissed assault with intent to murder charges against him, and will petition a Wayne County probate judge to have him committed to a secure mental hospital.
The dismissal of the assault charges during Friday's hearing before 36th District Judge Kenneth King is largely procedural, since Durham still has murder charges pending. He will remain in state custody until a ruling is made on his competency to stand trial on the murder charges.
Durham, 62, is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 22, 2016, fatal shooting of Wayne State K-9 handler Officer Collin Rose, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Durham also was charged with assault with intent to murder for the March 15, 2017, shooting of Detroit 3rd Precinct Special Operations officers James Kisselburg and Ben Atkinson, both of whom are recovering.
Durham, who suffers from mental illness, has undergone several psychological forensic examinations in both the murder and assault cases. Each time, he was found incompetent to stand trial.
The most recent psychological exam, detailed in a July 23 report from a doctor at the state Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti, found Durham "remains incompetent to stand trial, but there's a substantial likelihood he will regain competency," assistant prosecutor Robert Donaldson told the judge.
Donaldson and Durham's attorney Gabi Silver stipulated to the report's findings.
State law dictates that a trial must be held within 15 months of a competency exam, or the case is moved to probate court.
Since it's been 15 months since Durham was first found incompetent on the assault charges, Donaldson dropped the assault charges Friday, and said he will petition to a probate court judge to have him committed to a mental hospital.
"The people have a right to reissue charges if he’s found competent to stand trial, and in all likelihood I would petition the court to reissue charges," Donaldson told the judge.
The 15-month deadline on the murder charges expires Dec. 27, Donaldson said. Durham will remain in the secure forensic center facility, and King expressed hope Friday the defendant would continue getting treatment in hopes he will be found competent to stand trial before the deadline.
Silver told reporters after Friday's hearing her client is confused about the proceedings.
"He doesn't understand what's going on," she said, adding she doesn't know whether he ever will be found competent to stand trial in either the murder or assault cases.
"Every time we've been here (the report) says the same thing: He's not competent, but with treatment he could get better," she said.
Silver said no matter what happens, her client will likely be in a secure mental hospital "for the rest of his life."
King scheduled a Nov. 5 competency hearing.
"He will continue to receive treatment in hopes that he will regain competency," King said.