Defense attorneys for 16-year-old Dharminder Vir Sen and 16-year-old Wyatt Bear Cloud both raised separate mental issues regarding their clients during motion hearing in 4th Judicial District Court on Friday. Both Vir Sen and Bear Cloud also have pending motions to transfer their cases to juvenile court. The transfer motions will be decided by Judge Thomas Sullins from Casper.
In Friday’s hearing, Vir Sen’s Attorney Tim Cotton noted that his client’s mental capacity had deteriorated since he has been incarcerated at the Sheridan County Detention Center. Cotton now has concerns that Vir Sen is not competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense. Judge John Fenn ordered a competency evaluation by the Wyoming State Hospital. It will be up to the hospital whether that evaluation will be done in Sheridan or at the hospital in Evanston.
Results from the examination could take 30 days or more to be completed.
Bear Cloud’s Attorney Shelley Cundiff filed a motion to continue or delay proceedings against her client. Bear Cloud is competent to proceed but he is due to undergo a forensic neuro-psychological examination. That procedure cannot be completed by the January 28th pre-trial conference set for the case. Based on the results of that exam, Cundiff indicated that they may request a plea change to a mental illness or deficiency plea, if warranted.
The court granted a 60-day continuance in both cases. Judge Fenn noted that both defendants are scheduled for trial in March. Both those trials will now have to be rescheduled. Based on the court’s calendar, Fenn said it could be several months before the trials could be rescheduled. At this time the proceedings against the third defendant, Dennis Poitra, Jr. are still on schedule for a March trial date.