Knapp Now Found Competent To Stand Trial For Murder

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Le Mars) — A district court judge has now ruled that 83-year old Thomas Knapp is competent to stand trial.  In May of 2020, Knapp was charged with First Degree Murder with the shooting death of his step-son, 51-year old Kevin LeRoy Juzek.  Knapp is accused of shooting Juzek in the chest using a shotgun.  Knapp has been in the Plymouth County Jail since the shooting on a million dollar bond.  Earlier, Knapp had been found incompetent to stand trial and was ordered to seek mental treatment.  Dr. Arnold Andersen with the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital evaluated Knapp.  Andersen reports that his findings indicate that Knapp appreciates the charges he faces, gives a reasonable estimate of the maximum punishment he might receive, understands the role he expects his attorneys to carry out and how to effectively assist them in building his case, has a rational and factual understanding of the key personnel in court during the trial, understands how to act appropriately in court during the trial, and with modest, suitable accommodations he would be able to follow the proceedings of the trial in a meaningful manner despite his hearing deficit.   Dr. Anderson further concluded that he found no evidence that Mr. Knapp suffers from any psychiatric illness or significant deficit in memory – only a personality disorder with mixed fixtures, which do not meet criteria for any mental illness or any significant cognitive impairment. While Knapp has, at times, been uncooperative with staff and evaluators, after observing Knapp’s behavior over almost 3 months, Dr. Anderson has concluded that Knapp has engaged in “strategic exaggeration” of his limitations – that his capacities and behaviors when not being evaluated have belied his initial demonstration of inability to understand or recall. The trial date is scheduled for September 6th at the Plymouth County Courthouse.