McCOOK, Nebraska -- The 19-year-old Bartley, Nebraska, man accused of killing a McCook girl in January 2011, has been determined to be competent to stand trial. According to court documents filed Jan. 31, 2012, the court found that Stathis Kirkpatrick "has the mental capacity to undertake the nature and object of the proceeding against him and can comprehend his own condition in reference to the proceedings."
Kirkpatrick was committed to the Lincoln Regional Health Center for mental health treatment in September 2011 and ordered to remain there until he was deemed competent to stand trial for the murder of 14-year-old Kailee Nichole Clapp.
The ruling came after the court received a letter from a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist, both of the Lincoln Regional Health Center.
The defense for Kirkpatrick filed a motion dated Feb. 21, 2012, that required the Lincoln Regional Center to release to them all records pertaining to Kirkpatrick's hospitalization. Prosecutors did not object to the motion and it was subsequently granted.
Attorneys in the case have until March 1 to file further motions and a March 5 phone conference is scheduled, during which a trial date is likely to be set.
Kirkpatrick is charged with first degree murder, use of a knife or deadly weapon to commit a felony, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful burial.
If convicted the minimum penalty for a first degree murder charge, a Class I or IA felony, is life in prison without parole; the maximum is the death penalty.