MARSHALL - The case of a man charged with shooting a mental health services worker in July won't be going to trial, after the results of a mental health examination of Donald Leroy Lowe were discussed in Lyon County District Court on Tuesday.
A doctor's report said Lowe, 71, was not competent to continue with court proceedings. A district court judge agreed to begin the civil commitment process for Lowe instead.
In August, Lowe was charged with first degree attempted murder, second degree attempted murder, first degree arson and second degree assault. A complaint alleges Lowe shot a mental health services worker visiting him at his residence in Vallers Township July 29, and then set fire to the house with the victim inside.
Lowe was transferred from Lyon County to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter to undergo a Rule 20 examination. Rule 20 in Minnesota's Rules of Criminal Procedure states that defendants can't be put on trial or sentenced for a crime if they are unable to understand court proceedings, participate in their defense or rationally consult with an attorney. Defense attorney Gregg Solomon said a doctor's report of the exam found Lowe unable to participate in his defense, with symptoms of chronic paranoid schizophrenia and dementia.
Both Solomon and Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said they wouldn't be contesting the report, and asked that the court find Lowe incompetent to participate in his defense. They also requested that the court begin the process to have Lowe committed to a hospital.
Judge Leland Bush said he would issue an order to begin the civil commitment process, which includes more screening to determine whether Lowe is eligible for hospitalization, and a formal petition for commitment.
Solomon said Lowe will be held in the Lyon County jail during the civil commitment process. If Lowe is committed, he will be transferred back to the Security Hospital.