Janesville man not yet competent to stand trial

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

— A man accused of fatally stabbing his neighbor in a downtown Janesville apartment building remains in Mendota Mental Health Institute while officials await doctorsí notes about his ability to stand trial.

If he is found competent, it is likely William Davis, 54, of 31 S. Main St., Janesville, will be found not guilty of murder by reason of mental defect.

Davis is accused of stabbing and killing his neighbor, Joseph Hanson, in Hansonís apartment in July 2011. In October, Judge James Daley ordered at least one year of inpatient mental health treatment for Davis, who has been in Mendota since shortly after the stabbing.

Officials in court Tuesday debated the deadline for the year of treatment. Assistant Public Defender Donald Weeden said his client earned credit from the first day he entered Mendota, and the year should be up July 24. Daley said he thinks the earned credit would be considered at sentencing if Davis were to be sentenced. Without the credit, Daley said, the deadline would be in October.

The parties will meet Friday, July 20, to argue the deadline date. They hope to have documentation from mental health professionals regarding Davisí competency by that time.

To be found competent to stand trial, Davis must be able to understand the charges against him and to participate in his defense.

If Davis was determined competent to stand trial, he likely would plead not guilty by reason of mental defect or disease, District Attorney David OíLeary said after the October competency hearing. Doctors think Davis was experiencing a schizophrenic episode when he stabbed Hanson, OíLeary said.

If Davis was not found competent to stand trial after one year, he could remain in custody under Wisconsinís mental health law rather than under criminal charges, OíLeary said.

According to the criminal complaint filed in September, Davisí neighbor called 911 at 10:23 p.m. July 12, 2011, and reported hearing stomping and screaming in upstairs apartments at 31 S. Main St., Janesville. When police arrived, Davis charged naked from his apartment. Officers shot him with Tasers to stop him, according to the complaint.

Later, the neighbor found Hanson dead in his apartment and called police again. Police saw about 15 stab wounds in Hansonís body, according to the complaint.

Hansonís family has filed a notice of claim against Rock County. The notice sets the groundwork for the family to sue the county if they choose to do so.

Davis and Hanson were diagnosed with schizophrenia and were participants in Rock County's Community Support Program, according to court documents. Both men were assigned case workers responsible for coordinating their living arrangements, monitoring their medications, dispensing social security payments and helping the men with their day-to-day lives, according to the notice.

The family would seek $5 million in damages, according to court documents.

Last updated: 4:58 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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