Soldotna man’s murder trial put on hold again

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The murder trial of a 23-year-old Soldotna man has been delayed again after the defense requested more time for a competency evaluation.

Adam Israel has been charged with the stabbing death of his mother in their home on Jan. 29, 2005.

Israel said he was anxious to get the trial “over with.” However, defending attorney John Richard said it would be unwise for Israel to begin the murder trial without a more extensive examination evaluating his mental health.

A thorough explanation of the mental factors that may have been at play when Israel allegedly killed his mother could be critical to his defense, Richard said.

According to Soldotna police Sgt. Tod McGillivray, Israel’s mother was stabbed with a butcher knife in her residence on West Little Avenue around noon on Jan. 29. Israel was living with her at the time.

Israel called 911 shortly after the stabbing, McGillivray said. Israel’s mother was taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital and died there around 1 p.m.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin in the murder trial Tuesday, but Richard said Israel was not in a state of mind to make wise decisions with regard to his murder trial and urged the court to delay the trial a second time.

Israel’s trial also was delayed in February, after a pool of potential jurors were called for jury selection. Richard had been appointed to represent Israel only one week prior to the scheduled February trial and the court agreed to give the defense extra time to prepare.

In arguing to delay the trial a second time on Tuesday, Richard said although Israel appears to be alert and understand what is going on around him most of the time, he is prone to sudden and irrational trains of thought.

The fact that Israel is anxious to get something that is so important “over with” is itself an indication that Israel is not in a state of mind to make decisions that are in his best interest, Richard said.

“He has made the decision to be like the swollen log floating down the river,” he said.

Israel has butted heads with attorneys representing him and accused Richard of trying to scare him into accepting a plea agreement.

“It seems like he’s working with the (district attorney) more than he’s working with me,” Israel said, referring to Richard earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet reminded Israel that his attorney was appointed to ensure fair treatment and urged Israel to work with his attorney to further his interests.

“Nobody wants to see you as a log floating down the river,” he said.

Initial reports evaluating Israel’s competence were made by two separate doctors. The first evaluation suggested Israel is competent, but the results of a second initial evaluation are less certain. It shows that Israel may suffer from schizophrenia, affective disorder, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The court has ordered that Israel undergo further examination and scheduled a competency hearing for May 10.

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