Competency hearing reset

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Foster

SANDPOINT — A hearing to consider the competency of a Blanchard man accused of trying to kill two Bonner County sheriff’s deputies was postponed on Wednesday so the state and the defense can pore over medical records, court records show.

The competency hearing in Adam Deacon Foster’s case was reset for March 23. Foster, who’s charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, remains held at the Kootenai County Jail with bail set at $2 million.

Foster was absent from Wednesday’s hearing because the jail in Coeur d’Alene never received an order to transport him to the jail in Sandpoint, according to court documents.

Foster, 31, is accused of bolting away from deputies outside his home on Mountain View Road on Jan. 16, lying in wait and opening fire on deputies Michael Gagnon and Justin Penn as they rounded a corner of the home.

Despite being struck by rounds from Foster’s .44 magnum pistol, both deputies managed to return fire and wound Foster. Gagnon, 53, and Penn, 30, survived the shootings.

Defense attorneys for Foster moved for their client to undergo a mental health examination because he made remarks suggesting he was having trouble differentiating between what is real and what is not, which raised questions about Foster’s capacity to understand the criminal proceedings against him or assist in his own defense.

Chief Public Defender Janet Whitney and Chief Deputy Public Defender Susie Jensen have not disclosed in court documents statements Foster made to inform their motion for an evaluation. However, Foster has made remarks in open court that he was set upon by people in plainclothes who planned to kill him and that neither Gagnon and Penn were actually present during the confrontation.

Gagnon, Penn and Deputy William Craffey were in uniform when they tried to arrest Foster on year-old battery charges against a family member, according to court documents. The deputies resolved to arrest Foster because he told his mother than was going to kill a neighbor and vowed to kill anyone, including law enforcement, who tried to stop him from carrying out his plans.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall filed a motion to postpone Wednesday’s hearing so a second competency evaluation could be conducted because the first exam revealed suggestions that Foster may be exaggerating his symptoms or malingering in a bid to avoid prosecution, court records indicate.

“This evaluation will provide more information for all the parties involved and assist the court in making an accurate determination,” Marshall said in the motion.

Foster has been receiving anti-psychotic medication, although Whitney said on Wednesday it’s unclear if he’s being over- or under-medicated and sought a court order to release medical records to shed light on that issue. Judge Debra Heise granted the request, according to court records.

A motion for a second evaluation was also approved, court documents indicate.

The results of court-ordered mental health examinations are filed under seal, which means only the attorney and the court are privy to them.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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