Exams ordered for man accused of killing wife with bat

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Clarkston — Forensic examinations were ordered on Wednesday for an Independence Township construction worker charged with the May 28 slaying of his wife, beaten to death with a baseball bat while at home with her two young children.

Joseph G. Mauti, 32, is charged with first-degree murder of his wife, Lindsey, 30, a teacher's aide in Clarkston. Mauti is also charged with animal cruelty in the killing of the couple's dog, also beaten with a bat, investigators said.

Attorney Steven Lynch requested a competency exam and a test of criminal responsibility for Mauti on Wednesday morning.

"After talking with my client and others, I believe these are necessary," Lynch told Clarkston District 52-2 Judge Kelley Kostin.

Kostin approved Lynch's request and ordered the examinations — often a precursor to a defense of mental illness or insanity. The tests will be done at the state forensic center in Ypsilanti to determine if Mauti is mentally competent to stand trial and assist in his defense and also if he can be found criminally responsible for his actions.

Kostin also set an Aug. 13 date in her court to review results of the examinations.

In a related matter, Clarkston District Judge Joseph Fabrizio adjourned a hearing for Mauti Wednesday for allegedly violating conditions of probation in a 2014 domestic violence conviction involving his wife. Fabrizio set a $25,000 cash surety bond in the matter, pending Mauti's return to court in August. Maui is currently jailed without bond in the homicide case.

Oakland County Sheriff's deputies went to the Mauti's home on Cheshire on a welfare check about 5:30 p.m. on May 29 after co-workers reported Lindsey Mauti failed to report for work that day and could not be reached by phone.

At the home, deputies could see blood stains, a child wandering around and heard a man's voice. Inside, they found two children, a six-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, both unharmed, and their father. Lindsey Mauti's bloody body was found on the garage floor, her dog beside her.

In an earlier swearing to a criminal warrant in the case, Detective David Hendrick told Kostin that Joseph Mauti told investigators that while his wife put their children to bed on May 28, he went to the basement where he obtained a baseball bat he used to kill her and their dog.

The children have since been turned over to grandparents.

A first-degree murder conviction carries a penalty of life in prison without parole. The animal cruelty charge is punishable by four years in prison.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319