A fourth competency evaluation was ordered Thursday for a Janesville man accused of the bloody assaults of three people in 2018.
At the request of the defense, Rock County Judge Barbara McCrory ordered an independent psychiatric evaluation for Dennis J. McNeal to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.
McNeal, 58, of 1807 S. Osborne Ave., is charged with first-degree reckless injury, two counts of aggravated battery and possession of a firearm by a felon.
He is accused of shooting his girlfriend, Laurie Ruosch, six to 10 times and seriously injuring Laurie’s daughter, Brenda Ruosch, and Laurie’s brother, Steven Ruosch.
Ana Garcia, a psychologist at Mendota Mental Health Institute, told the court Thursday her evaluation of McNeal determined he was competent.
Garcia said she does not believe McNeal experiences hallucinations, as he has claimed to other doctors.
McNeal’s medical history does not indicate evidence of a psychotic illness, Garcia said.
During his time at Mendota, McNeal was able to converse with people, remember names and recall rules for living there. He showed the ability to retain new information, and Garcia said she believed he understood his case and the court process.
McNeal also played chess with other high-functioning patients, showing his ability to strategize, Garcia said.
She said McNeal likely has some degree of depression or anxiety disorder but does not display signs of illnesses or disorders that could render him incompetent.
McNeal’s attorney, Josh Klaff, pointed out that Garcia’s evaluation contradicts earlier evaluations by therapists who said McNeal had mental health problems and cognitive defects.
Assistant District Attorney Jerry Urbick said he did not see the point in requesting another evaluation, but he acknowledged McNeal and his attorney had the right to do so.
Klaff said he requested the evaluation not to delay a potential trial, but because it is the right thing to do.
McNeal originally pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which means he was unable to understand what he was doing at the time of the crime, but that was rejected after a mental evaluation.
McNeal later was found not competent to stand trial, meaning he was not able to understand court proceedings and assist in his defense.
After treatment, a second evaluation found him competent.
McNeal again asked to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. An evaluation found him unsuitable for that plea, and he withdrew the plea. A third evaluation was ordered in June.
In August, McNeal was deemed not competent to stand trial and ordered to spend time in a state mental health facility to get treatment and gain competency.
A hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Nov. 26.