Exam ordered for man in Chelsea Bruck’s death

Oralandar Brand-Williams

Monroe — The man accused of killing Chelsea Bruck nearly two years ago after her disappearance from a Halloween party will undergo a mental competency examination.

It’s the second court hearing this week for Daniel Allen Clay, 27. He was arraigned Monday on second-degree murder charges related to 22-year-old Bruck’s killing.

Monroe County Judge Jack Vitale approved a request by Clay’s attorney, Russell Smith, to have his client tested for mental and criminal competency. The exam, which will be done at the Center for Forensics and Psychiatry, has to be conducted within the next 60 days.

Monroe Chief Assistant Prosecutor Michael Roehrig told Vitale that while he didn’t object to Clay’s right to the competency examination, he said “there is no reason” to believe Clay is not competent to stand trial given the investigators’ reports and the suspect’s court appearance Monday.

Clay is due back in court at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 29.

Smith said Clay is distraught and was seen by a psychiatrist since his arrest. Smith said his client was prescribed some medication.

Bruck of Maybee was last seen Oct. 26, 2014, at a party in Frenchtown Township. Her remains were found six months later, on April 24, 2015, about 12 miles away in a wooded lot on Briar Hill in Ash Township.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled her death a homicide and the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head.

On Wednesday, authorities said the theft of a backpack more than two months ago led investigators to Clay. The Monroe News reported that DNA provided by Clay after his arrest in connection with the May 10 theft helped them zero in on Clay.

DNA found on Bruck’s Poison Ivy Halloween costume allegedly matched that of Clay.

Monroe County Prosecutor William Paul Nichols said investigators were aided in their probe of Bruck’s killing by a 2015 law that allows police to take DNA from people who are arrested.

Nichols told the Monroe News that if investigators did not have the new DNA law available, Clay of Newport would “still be out there walking around.” Clay was charged Monday with second-degree murder in Bruck’s death.

During Clay’s brief arraignment Monday before Monroe County Judge Terrence Bronson, Clay raised his hand and said “I don’t want a bond.”

Roehrig said he could not discuss statements Clay may have made to authorities.


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