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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Defense seeks psych evaluation

Monday, March 7, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The brother of the 14-year-old McCook, Nebraska, girl murdered in January repeatedly thumped his chest and mouthed a barely-audible alpha male gorilla growl/Tarzan yell as a Red Willow County sheriff's officer escorted him past the family of the man accused of killing Kailee Nichole Clapp and out of the Red Willow County district courtroom Monday afternoon.

Red Willow County Sheriff's Deputies Ashley Donovan, Amber Hiatt and McCook Police Sgt. Joel Willers escort Stathis Kirkpatrick from the Red Willow County Courthouse this afternoon.
(Gazette photo)
The scratching slide of handcuffs being snapped shut echoed in the marble hallway outside the courtroom door as officers took Nick Clapp from the courthouse shortly after the start of the arraignment of Stathis Sebastian Mobley Kirkpatrick of Bartley, Nebraska, who turned 19 on March 5.

Red Willow County Sheriff Gene Mahon said after Kirkpatrick's arraignment, during which Kirkpatrick pleaded "not guilty" to four felony charges in Clapp's death and his attorney requested a psychological evaluation for his client, that Nick Clapp was taken to jail and will probably be charged with disorderly conduct.

The already-tense courtroom, a single narrow aisle separating friends and family members of Clapp and Kirkpatrick, intensified when Nick Clapp apparently said something to the grandmother of Kirkpatrick. Clapp was removed, but the drama continued as Kirkpatrick's uncle turned to say something to someone sitting on the east half of the courtroom where family and friends of Kailee sat, and was ordered by a sheriff's officer to be quiet.

Someone on the Clapp side of the courtroom told officers, "Well, take him away too," before officers restored order and the attorneys continued their discussion of a psychological evaluation.

Nick Clapp had had a brief disagreement with sheriff's officers earlier in the afternoon before Kirkpatrick's arraignment, as he walked through a metal detector not yet set to scan those attending the Kirkpatrick arraignment, and into a district courtroom proceeding in progress before Kirkpatrick's. Officers told him he had to leave, and Nick complied, hitching up saggy jeans, grumbling as he walked away, " ... just tryin' to keep up with ma homies."

Most of Kailee's friends and family members wore white "Justice for Kailee" T-shirts.

Many of Kirkpatrick's friends and family members carried bright purple bandanas, possibly in reference to the long, shaggy purple-maroon hair that Kirkpatrick wore at his first court appearances in January. Kirkpatrick appeared at his Fb. 11 county court appearance and Monday with short brown hair and long sideburns. He wore a bright orange Phelps County Jail jumpsuit, leg shackles and handcuffs and a chain around his waist.

District Court Judge David Urbom told attorneys he would take under consideration the request by Derek Mitchell, Kirkpatrick's attorney, for the psychological evaluation of his client.

Mitchell said that "as a layman," he needs outside help to determine "the state of mind" of his client. Mitchell told Judge Urbom that a plea of "not responsible by reason of insanity" is not an issue now. He said that he did not know what would come out of the evaluation.

Corey O'Brien -- who, with Mike Guinan, another member of the Nebraska Attorney General's office, is assisting Red Willow County attorney Paul Wood with Kirkpatrick's prosecution -- told the judge that the state would not object to the evaluation as long as its findings and evidence are shared with prosecution.

O'Brien also asked that the time consumed by the evaluation be calculated within the six-month speedy trial time frame; Kirkpatrick subsequently waived his right to a speedy trial.

Judge Urbom asked that Mitchell submit his legal argument for the psychological evaluation and O'Brien his response by March 24.

Other motions by the attorneys, including possibly a motion to suppress evidence, will be heard Monday and Tuesday, July 11 and 12.

Mitchell asked Judge Urbom to set "some bond," possibly the $1 million initially set by Red Willow County Court Judge Anne Paine in January, but Urbom ordered that Kirkpatrick continue to be held without bond.

Sheriff's officers returned Kirkpatrick to the Phelps County jail in Holdrege Monday afternoon.

Kirkpatrick is charged with:

* First degree murder, a Class IA felony punishable by life in prison;

* Use of a knife or other deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class II felony punishable by one to 50 years in prison;

* And tampering with physical evidence and unlawful burial (throwing away or abandoning human skeletal remains), each a Class IV felony punishable by five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Judge Urbom explained to Kirkpatrick that the law requires that if he is convicted and sentenced, Count 2 must be served consecutively to any other charge.

Kirkpatrick is accused of killing Kailee Clapp, a freshman at McCook Senior High, sometime during the night of Jan. 21/22. Kailee was discovered missing when her sister went into her room to wake her up for school about 7 a.m., Friday, Jan. 21.

An investigation by McCook police throughout the day led them to Kirkpatrick, who told conflicting stories about not talking to Kailee for a couple weeks and talking to her twice during the previous night.

Finally confronted by officers about his involvement in Kailee's disappearance, Kirkpatrick blamed her injury/death on someone driving a black Dodge pickup who attacked both of them physically and struck each of them with his pickup, in the alley behind Kailee's home in McCook. Kirkpatrick said he put Kailee in the back of his own pickup to take her to the hospital, but the man in the Dodge put her body in the back of his pickup and drove out of town to the east.

Kirkpatrick said he followed the man, at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour, to the Bartley Cemetery, where the man burned Kailee's body. Kirkpatrick told police officers he never thought of calling for help as they drove east.

Police and sheriff's officers found Kailee's body in the cemetery late Friday evening; an autopsy in Omaha Saturday and Sunday confirmed that the body was Kailee Clapp's.

During a first appearance in Judge Paine's county courtroom, Kirkpatrick was initially ordered jailed and held on $1 million bond on suspicion of tampering with physical evidence, prohibited acts against human skeletal remains and concealing the death of another person.

At a subsequent appearance in county court Jan. 27, Kirkpatrick was charged with first degree murder, use of a knife or other deadly weapon to commit a felony, tampering with evidence and unlawful burial. Kirkpatrick waived a preliminary hearing on Feb. 11 and Judge Paine ordered that Kirkpatrick appear next in district court.

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