Defense seeks second mental evaluation in attempted murder case

ST. GEORGE – An evidentiary hearing for a Hurricane man accused of attempted murder was shelved as the court approved a request from the defense for time to consult with a psychologist concerning the accused man’s mental state.

In June, Craig Manwill Bennett, 33, was declared mentally competent to stand court proceedings by mental health professionals at the Utah State Hospital in Provo, Utah. Bennett was sent to the hospital in early 2013 to undergo mental evaluation in connection with the alleged attempted murder of a 48-year-old man on Nov. 27, 2013.

Bennett did not appear in court, but was represented by Edward Flint, who asked Judge Eric Ludlow to postpone the evidentiary hearing so an additional psychologist could render an opinion on Bennett’s mental status. According to court records, Bennett was evaluated by one psychologist in August 2013, and another psychologist more recently in May.

The defense would like to consult with another psychologist before arguing evidence, Flint said.

The prosecution, represented by Zachary Weiland, of the Washington County Attorney’s Office, did not object to the defense’s request.

Bennett is currently being held at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility and has been charged with a first-degree felony for attempted murder. The incident took place in a recreational vehicle park in the community of Harrisburg along Interstate 15 the night of Nov. 27, 2012.

According to court documents, Bennett allegedly shot a man with a shotgun after verbally threatening him. Hurricane Police responded to the RV park after gunfire was reported to the St. George Communications Center. When they arrived on the scene, they encountered the victim, described as a 48-year-old man, who had sustained gunshot wounds. He was listed in critical condition and flown by Life Flight to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for emergency care.

Police officers also encountered Bennett at the scene where he was taken into custody without incident. He was booked into jail soon after and eventually sent to the Utah State Hospital until being transferred back to Purgatory in June.

Bennett’s case is scheduled for review hearing on Sept. 16 at 9 a.m.

Persons arrested and charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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1 Comment

  • StG Guy August 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Defense: “Did you do a good mission?” Answer, “Ayuh yup!” Defense: “Your honor, this man is innocent!”

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