Competency hearing Friday for Kalamazoo killing suspect

The Detroit News

A competency hearing will be held Friday for a part-time Uber driver who is charged with killing six people in Kalamazoo in February.

The hearing in Kalamazoo County District Court may determine whether Jason Dalton is mentally fit to stand trial.

Judge Tiffany Ankley will receive a written report of a mental competency exam of Dalton from the state Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ann Arbor.

Ankley had ordered the exam at the behest of Dalton’s attorney, Eusebio Solis.

Solis had told the judge that Dalton didn’t seem to understand the case against him.

Dalton had told investigators that the shootings were caused by a Uber app on his cellphone. He said the app, which turned into a devil’s head, controlled his actions during the rampage.

Dalton, who is being held without bond in the Kalamazoo County Jail, is facing 16 charges, including six murder counts.

He is accused of shooting eight people, including the six who were killed, in three incidents over a five-hour period on Feb. 20.

Between the three shooting incidents, Dalton drove Uber passengers around town, said police and passengers.

Killed in the attacks were Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda; Richard Smith, 53, and his son Tyler, 17, of Mattawan; and Mary Jo Nye, 60, Dorothy “Judy” Brown, 74, and Barbara Hawthorne, 68, all of Battle Creek.

The other two victims, Abigail Kopf, 14, and Tiana Carruthers, 25, are recovering from their injuries.

Carruthers’ condition at Borgess Medical Center has improved while Abigail was scheduled to return home Wednesday from a Grand Rapids rehabilitation facility.