New competency hearing set for man charged with attempted murder

ST. GEORGE – A man charged with attempted murder will need to have his mental competency re-evaluated due to delays in obtaining a timely second opinion from a second mental health expert. Craig Manwill Bennett, 33, appeared in 5th District Court Tuesday as concern was raised over the current status of his mental competency.

Bennett was declared competent by Dr. Amy Bray at the Utah State Hospital in May after originally being declared incompetent in early 2013. He was subsequently released from the hospital and sent to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility where he has remained since.

Bennett was arrested on the night of Nov. 27, 2012, for allegedly shooting a man with a shotgun at a trailer park in the Harrisburg community of Washington County. The victim of the shooting, a 48-year-old man, was taken by Life Flight to University Medical Center in Las Vegas in critical condition following the incident. Bennett was charged with first-degree felony attempted murder.

The defense filed a motion in August for a medical expert, one Eric Nielson of Salt Lake City, to evaluate Bennett and possibly offer a counter opinion. Nielson has not yet been able to conduct an evaluation.

The delay has caused frustration for some involved in the case.

We have no idea if he’s still competent,” Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum said.

Because of the time that has passed since Bennett’s last evaluation, Bray would either have to re-evaluate Bennett, or Nielson would, so the case could move forward.

“We need to find some way of speeding this up because even 30 days down the road makes that evaluation questionable,” Shaum said.

Present in the courtroom was Bennett’s mother, who Shaum said has traveled from northern Utah six times now and is growing frustrated with the lack of progress in her son’s case.

The court set a new competency hearing for Jan. 13.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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4 Comments

  • Koolaid December 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    What’s with these trailers causing people to act so weird? Or is it the mix of guns and trailers? Maybe we start a reality tv series called “Guns and Trailers” based off of living in Dixie Utah.

  • Martee December 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

    If you have never encountered the BLM on your land, you are in for a shock!! They show up armed liked Seal Team 6 and are rude,bossy, and are armed with live rounds in their rifles and side arms. Seal Team 6 went after a monster and got their man, I just wish I could have one of those guys go after the BLM who scared the crap out of me and my son who were riding our horses on my own property. Trying to steel my mustangs which thank God I had the paperwork for,when my 8 year old asked why they wanted our horses they ignored him and pushed him away. They left but I will never forget how afraid I was on my own land and guess what I work for the U.S. and don’t owe a penny in taxes. Don’t dare compare the thug in Ferguson who robbed a store he created his own faith,as for Long Island the police killed that man Eric may his family have peace and love.

  • ladybugavenger December 10, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Maybe its the court that is not competent for failing to get these evaluations done in a timely matter

  • Cillary Hinton December 10, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Typical justice system dragging its feet because they know they don’t have to answer to anybody. they are the law of the land and they do as they please

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