95-year-old Lafayette murder suspect set for evaluation “in the very near future” – The Denver Post

Prosecutors say the 95-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a Lafayette assisted living facility employee will soon be transported to the state hospital to get a mental health evaluation.

Okey Payne was charged with first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Ricardo Medina-Rojas, as well as two counts of felony menacing.

Attorneys filed a motion requesting that Payne’s competency be evaluated, and a judge ordered a mental health stay on the case until it can be determined if Payne is competent enough to assist in his own defense.

But at a status conference in late May, a month after the filing, attorneys said Payne had not yet even been transported to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo due to capacity and transportation issues.

Despite the delay, Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill granted the request of Payne’s attorneys that he still be evaluated at the Pueblo facility and not the Boulder County Jail, but set a status conference for Wednesday to check on Payne’s situation.

But while Payne remains at the Boulder County Jail, Wednesday’s hearing was canceled as Boulder County District Attorney spokeswoman Shannon Carbone said they “anticipate (Payne’s) transfer to Pueblo in the very near future.”

He is still set for an Aug. 11 review hearing.

If Payne is found incompetent to proceed, he will continue to be held at a facility until he can either be restored to competency or a judge rules it is unlikely he will ever be fit to stand trial.

First-degree murder is a Class 1 felony that carries a mandatory life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole if Payne were to be convicted.

The charges stem from a shooting at Legacy Assisted Living, 225 Waneka Parkway, at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 3.

Officers responded, took Payne into custody and found a small handgun.

Medina-Rojas, a 44-year-old maintenance employee, was transported to Good Samaritan Medical Center and initially placed on life support, but he was pronounced dead that afternoon, according to the affidavit.

Police believe the shooting took place in the lobby and that Payne also pointed the gun at two other people in the building before he returned to his room, where he was later taken into custody.

According to an arrest affidavit, Payne used a walker and had trouble hearing and asked police to write questions for him to read, but was otherwise lucid and waived his right to an attorney before making a statement.

Payne told police in the interview that he believed staff of the Legacy, including Medina-Rojas, were working with his ex-wife to steal from him. Payne told police staff were stealing bills from his wallet and forging checks in his name.

Both Lafayette police and Adult Protective Services had previously investigated Payne’s complaints but found the allegations were unsubstantiated.

Payne said he waited for Medina-Rojas to check in and confronted him about the missing money. Payne told police Medina-Rojas “mumbled” something before Payne then shot Medina-Rojas in the head to stop “the thievery.”

Payne said staff had told him he was not allowed to have firearms on the property by rule, and said staff had taken his firearms — including a handgun and a rifle — from his room to store them in a storage shed at a separate address.

Payne did not say how he got a weapon into the building ahead of the shooting.

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