Second judge questions competency

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Friday, March 22, 2013

— A month after a Rock County judge declared a former Palmyra man incompetent to stand trial, a Racine County judge has ordered two competency exams for the man in another case.

The Racine County District Attorney's Office in February charged Keith M. Abbott, 49, with nine counts of possession of child pornography, according to online court records.

Abbott in June 2011 was charged in Rock County Court with homicide and hiding a corpse. He is accused of killing his stepson's girlfriend and leaving her body in rural Rock County in January 2011.

Since he was charged in the homicide case, Abbott has not been found competent to stand trial.

In February, Judge Kenneth Forbeck ordered Abbott to 90 more days at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. Abbott has been at Mendota getting treatment intended to help him become competent to stand trial, a psychologist who works with Abbott said in court in February.

Forbeck thought continued treatment and medication could bring Abbott to competency.

"I think he's very close," Forbeck said Feb. 15. "I think within a few months he is going to move forward as a competent person."

The following Monday, Abbott was charged with felony child pornography possession in Racine County. He made his initial appearance in Racine County Court on Feb. 28, according to court documents.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Racine County Court, investigators seized Abbott's computer while investigating the reported homicide. During the investigation, they found pornographic images and videos of children, according to the complaint.

Nine of the children in the images and videos were identified as known victims of child pornography by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the complaint.

Abbott's bond was set at $250,000 cash. A judge ordered he be housed at Mendota for a competency exam. Department of Health Services officials refused to conduct the exam, according to online court documents.

A doctor attempted an exam at the Racine County Jail and determined the exam should be done at a state facility, according to online court documents.

The judge on Wednesday ordered another competency exam for Abbott. Wednesday night, Abbott was in custody at the Racine County Jail, according to jail records. On Thursday, he was not in the jail, according to jail records.

Abbott is scheduled to appear in Racine County Court for a competency hearing in May, which is about when Forbeck's 90-day order would expire.

Abbott's next court appearance in Rock County has not been set.

Last updated: 7:54 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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