ST. GEORGE – A potential resolution may be in the works in a Toquerville murder case in which the defendant was recently declared mentally competent to continue with court proceedings. A date for the review on the matter was set for early January by the court Monday.
Joshua David Canfield, 19, of Toquerville, is accused of killing 58-year-old Toquerville resident Geraldine Bommerito in March 2014 during a residential burglary.
As Canfield’s case moved through the court, he was eventually found incompetent to stand trial and was sent to the Utah State Hospital in Provo for evaluation by order of the court last May.
Canfield was declared restored to competence by State Hospital officials earlier this month and subsequently returned to Southern Utah.
Canfield appeared in 5th District Court beside his lawyer, Edward Flint, Monday morning. Flint told the court that his client would not dispute to the findings of the State Hospital that he was competent, so the defense would not continue to pursue the matter.
In an effort to get the Canfield’s case moving again, Deputy Washington County Attorney Zachary Weiland said, he asked the court to set a date for a new hearing as soon as possible.
The court set a tentative date for a review hearing for Jan. 7, 2016. Details of a pending plea deal were not discussed openly in court.
Prior to Canfield’s being sent to the State Hospital, Flint questioned the results of mental evaluations previously conducted on his client that concluded he was competent.
Canfield had been kept in solitary confinement for over a year at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility by the time of the May hearing. During that time, he had attempted suicide multiple times, Flint said.
The court ultimately ordered Canfield be sent to the State Hospital for evaluation after the mental health professionals who had conducted the original evaluations were not available to be cross-examined in the May hearing.
Canfield is accused of killing Bommerito during a possible residential burglary on March 19, 2014.
According to court records, Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were already investigating a residential burglary in Tocqueville in which two firearms and some collectible coins were reported stolen. Canfield was identified as a possible suspect in the case.
He used some of the collectible coins at a gas station in Washington City. The action raised suspicion, and police were contacted about the incident. Authorities were given a description of the car Canfield was driving, and that led them to Bommerito’s home. That is when the deputies found Bommerito’s body.
Police tracked the car and Canfield to Springdale. The car had been abandoned and torched near the resort town. Canfield was found and was allegedly combative with officers when taken into custody. At one point, he attempted to harm himself and was placed on suicide watch for a time after being incarcerated at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Canfield has been charged with nine felonies, including first-degree murder, and three misdemeanors in relation to the case.
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