Is the man accused of shooting Shady Oaks fit to stand trial? -Austin Daily Herald

A psychologist recommends further examination; the other says the man exaggerates the symptoms of mental illness

Two psychologists gave dissenting opinions Monday in Freeborn County District Court on whether the man who allegedly shot three people during a standoff at Shady Oaks flats in November 2020 is competent to be charged. judge.

Devin Matthew Weiland

Forensic psychologist Tricia Aiken said that although Devin Matthew Weiland has received multiple diagnoses, including depression, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, she thinks he’s still competent to stand trial. She said she believed he was exaggerating his symptoms in an effort to be declared incompetent and sent to a mental hospital instead of going to trial with the possibility of being found guilty and sent to prison.

Weiland faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon related to the shooting.

Court Papers State investigators believe Weiland fired 90 rounds during the eight-hour standoff at the apartment complex on November 29, 2020.

Prosecutors said he summoned law enforcement to the apartment complex that morning at 2:18 a.m. for a report of fireworks or gunshots in the area. When the first officer arrived, Weiland began shooting from his third-floor apartment window, hitting that officer in the chest with a rifle. Two other people were later injured, including a resident who left the building because he was worried about his vehicle, and a second, who lived across the street and drove off in his car. to get to work.

Aiken, who was hired by the state for the evaluation, said Weiland was able to hold a rational and logical conversation with her during his evaluation regarding her upbringing and medical, social and educational background. However, she said that when she raised questions related to the court case or her understanding of court proceedings, he was uncooperative when answering questions.

“He was clearly able to discuss things with me, he just didn’t want to,” Aiken said.

Aiken said she met Weiland twice – the first in the Freeborn County jail in August 2021 and the second time in January 2022. She also considered reports from two other doctors in her assessment, as well as tests psychological.

Their first interview lasted two hours and 15 minutes, during which he came across as “a little awkward”, with poor eye contact, although he was cooperative to start the interview, she said. .

The psychologist said he gave detailed information about his upbringing and discussed in detail his relationship with his grandfather, who served as his protector. He talked about the school, even offering the first and last names of the teachers, and describing an Individualized Education Plan meeting where he got upset and left. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade and didn’t get his GED.

He also talked about his job and friends who he said didn’t treat him right and made him feel bad about himself. She said he had no memory lapses, problems organizing his thoughts, or problems giving information in chronological order.

While Weiland had Asperger’s symptoms, such as communication difficulties and poor eye contact, these did not lead to him being incompetent, she said.

The psychologist said Weiland reported symptoms of psychosis, but no similar behavior was observed by others. She also noted that his IQ – of 82 – was in the “low average” category but does not in itself indicate that he is incompetent.

To one of the psychological tests she took, he responded in a way that invalidated the results. In a second test, which is specifically set up to see if a patient is faking mental illness — also known as faking — Weiland got double the number identified as someone faking mental illness.

She said that in the two tests she performed, as well as in the other three tests performed by the two other doctors she examined, all five tests suggested exaggerated psychopathology or systematically over-reported symptoms.

“I believe he’s a very driven person,” Aiken said, noting that she believes in Weiland’s mind that he’s exaggerating his symptoms in an effort to be declared incompetent.

Aiken said a person who experiences psychotic behavior typically engages in bizarre behavior, including things like screaming, hearing voices, and going to extreme measures to try to drown out those voices. She said Weiland is not documented doing these things. She also said Weiland said he wanted help, but when offered medication or a meeting with medical professionals, he didn’t take the help.

She noted that there was a record that Weiland was given antipsychotic medication at some point, but noted that the reason was unclear and mentioned that the medication can sometimes be given for other reasons.

She also noted that she thought he was simply “unwilling” to discuss her case with his lawyers, but not unable.

During his second meeting with Weiland on January 3, Aiken said his visit was similar to the first. Weiland reportedly answered questions, but as soon as she started asking court-related questions, he said he wasn’t interested. But when they started talking about other things, he got engaged again.

She said prison diaries showed significantly fewer entries and indicated that he had improved.

When cross-examined by the Public Defender’s Office, Aiken acknowledged that just because someone is faking doesn’t mean they’re still competent.

She said she did not review all of the medical records from his past and relied only on reports from two doctors who had assessed him since the incident and prison records. Aiken said while the other recordings might have been helpful, she was confident in her assessment and said the skill is about a person’s current state.

Assistant County District Attorney Abigail Lambert said in her closing arguments that not wanting to participate in her defense does not mean Weiland is unable to.

“He sticks his head in the sand,” she said.

‘I do not think so somebody knows’

Psychologist George Komaridis, who was the initial court-ordered evaluator in the case, said he reviewed as many records as he could get, including school records, grades and intellectual skills. his developmental years, as well as police and court records from the incident, and the evaluation report from Aiken and another doctor who performed a neuropsychological evaluation.

He said that in his opinion, the most important information comes from interviews and learning about a person’s difficulties or inhibitors.

Contrary to Aiken’s opinion, Komaridis said he thought Weiland lived unsuccessfully as an independent adult – he was unable to hold down a job, was supported by his father, and was not unable to maintain positive relationships.

He said Weiland began having documented problems from preschool and elementary school age and received special education services. He had trouble getting along with his peers and took action.

Komaridis said Weiland was able to talk to him about the factors in his developmental story, but when it came time to address his discussion of legal proceedings, it became more difficult. He said Weiland sometimes said he just didn’t understand and referred to previous court settlements he couldn’t understand.

The doctor said that although he was unable to conduct a thorough examination, he had a good impression of Weiland. He noted gaps in understanding court proceedings and said when a person has deficits in cognitive abilities that can interfere with proceedings.

The two main factors to be competently considered are whether the defendant is rationally capable of consulting his attorney and participating in his defense and whether he is mentally ill or defective to be unable to understand the proceedings.

“Whether he had the ability or not, he didn’t,” Komaridis said. He said he thought there was a big question to be raised about Weiland’s true skill level and said he didn’t have enough evidence to draw a conclusion.

His recommendation was that Weiland be studied and observed more thoroughly and for a longer period of time through a skills program with the state.

When asked if Weiland was competent, Komaridis replied, “I don’t think anyone knows.”

Komaridis said he viewed Weiland as a man who had had problems in his life and realized that what he had done would change the rest of his life. The doctor said people tend to minimize or refuse to protect themselves, which can sometimes be called pretending. But even if he can fake it, it still hasn’t been determined if he’s proficient.

Komaridis said he thought Weiland understood he faced dire consequences from the case and feared the idea of ​​being sent to jail much more than a hospital.

The doctor said he believed Weiland was acting the way he does to protect himself, calling it a “survival choice.”

He referred to how Weiland sat in the courtroom with his head bowed and said it was almost like he had come to terms with what was about to happen and was defeated, instead of fighting for it. their rights or situation. The defense attorney also said Weiland refused to participate in their procedural conversations.

“He’s reacting in a way that’s not beneficial to him,” Komaridis said.

He noted that although Weiland did not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, he diagnosed him with a personality disorder that involved paranoia.

Schwab said he plans to issue an order on the matter in 10 days, but wants to take the time to review all of the documents.

“I think it’s a life-changing decision here,” Schwab said.

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