April 07, 2020

Judge rules man incompetent for trial

SKOWHEGAN – A Caratunk man accused in the bludgeoning death of his mother is incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled.

Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar ordered the suspect, William Bruce, to receive treatment at a mental hospital. The judge’s ruling, which followed a brief hearing in Skowhegan on Wednesday, delays Bruce’s trial until his condition improves.

Bruce, 25, was charged with murder following the death last June of Amy Bruce, 47, whose body was found in the home he shared with his parents.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson told Jabar that Bruce has been examined by the state forensic service and by a psychiatrist for the defense.

Documents relating to the Bruce’s psychiatric examination were impounded Wednesday, but attorneys on both sides agreed on the outcome of the exams.

Bruce has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He had been treated at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta but court documents say his condition worsened in the days leading up to his mother’s slaying.

Robert and Amy Bruce’s efforts to get help for their son were often set back by laws that prevented them from having a say in his treatment decisions and his refusal to take medication, family members have said.

By law, a defendant must be capable of assisting his lawyer during a trial. Benson said there’s no way to predict when Bruce’s condition will improve enough to meet that standard. But he said the trial could be delayed for as long as a year.

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