Evaluation means another delay in shooting case

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Nico Savidge
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JANESVILLE—After a doctor reported he could not say if a town of Plymouth man is fit to stand trial for a fatal shooting, a Rock County judge ordered another evaluation for the man Wednesday.

The decision further delays the case against Daniel Bellard, 75, who is accused of killing 59-year-old Christine Gestrich in February before turning the gun on himself.

Judge James Daley on Wednesday ordered Bellard be evaluated at an in-patient psychiatric facility.

Daley scheduled an Aug. 22 competency hearing for Bellard.

Injuries from two self-inflicted shotgun blasts kept Bellard in a Madison hospital for five months while he recovered and could now render him unable to assist in his own defense.

Daley ordered a competency evaluation at Bellard's initial appearance July 9 to see if he could stand trial in the shooting.

Bellard's attorney, Robert Junig, said at the initial appearance Bellard “doesn't hear at all.”

After the out-patient evaluation, a doctor told the court he could not make a determination about Bellard's competency, Daley said.

“There are all kinds of inherent difficulties,” Daley said, in assessing Bellard's competency.

The evaluation would determine only if Bellard is competent to stand trial and would not address his mental condition at the time of the shooting, District Attorney David O'Leary said earlier this month.

Bellard was not in court for Wednesday's hearing and is still being held at the Rock County Jail.

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