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King: Hospital Stay Prepared Me for Trial - Oct 24, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald

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King: Hospital Stay Prepared Me for Trial; [Metro Edition]

David Thompson. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb.: Oct 24, 1990. pg. 1

 

Full Text (752 words)

(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)

 

Lawrence E. King Jr. said Wednesday that he "went willingly" to a federal prison hospital in Rochester, Minn., last spring because questions had been raised in his own mind about his mental competency.

 

King's three-page statement, read aloud in court by his personal attorney, Alan Stoler, was the final document presented in a 3 1/2-day hearing on whether King is competent to stand trial on 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income tax violations.

 

U.S. Magistrate Richard Kopf said he would rule "as soon as reasonably possible" on King's competency.

 

King said he went to the Medical Facility for Federal Prisoners at Rochester with a desire to use the time "to become stronger, better able to cope, and more knowledgeable about court proceedings and what lies ahead."

 

King said he was able to consult properly with his attorneys and to withstand the rigors of a long trial. He gave a different version of some of the earlier mental examinations and testing that led in March to his being declared incompetent to assist his lawyers in a defense.

 

He said that while at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., he was told by a psychologist administering the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 that he "should answer the questions as if he were answering them at the time he was indicted rather than as he felt at the time of taking the test being a day after Christmas 1989."

 

King said his visit with Dr. Dorsey Dysart, then chief psychiatrist at the U.S. Medical Facility in Springfield, Mo., lasted 45 minutes. He said Dr. Dysart expressed anger at not having access to reports on King from the Menninger Clinic.

 

Dr. Dysart testified Oct. 17 that he had interviewed King for more than an hour. The psychiatrist said King's thought processes and memory became clouded after the first hour of the interview.

 

The interview with Dr. Dysart occurred last February. The specific date was not given during the competency hearing.

 

King said that while he was at Rochester from April 5 to Aug. 29, he participated in one hour group therapy sessions, two sessions a week with about nine other people. He said he met with psychologists and psychiatrists at least twice a week at Rochester.

 

King said he taught other inmates five days a week to complete work on their General Education Development tests and that he designed a consumer education class for prisoners.

 

He also began and took part in a weekly encounter group and participated in a prison fellowship group four days a week, he said. King said he volunteered as a counselor in the chemical dependency program while at Rochester.

 

King said he was aware there could be a lengthy and complex trial and said he felt he could participate adequately and properly in the trial process.

 

He said he was aware that he might be subjected to lengthy cross-examination if he decided to testify on his own behalf and thought he could withstand that test and the long conferences that would be necessary to prepare for trial.

 

King said he "can assist and cooperate in his defense, is aware of the various pretrial motions which have already been filed, understands the risks of conviction and potential sentence, understands the rights to trial, decision to testify, the presumption of innocence, the necessity of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, understand plea-bargaining options, had previous awareness of the state and federal grand juries arising out of the Franklin Credit Union matters, is aware of the potential of sentencing guidelines."

 

Before Stoler read King's statement, the magistrate spent nearly an hour in a closed-court session with King, Stoler, prosecuting attorneys and King's defense lawyers.

 

Steven Achelpohl and Marilyn Abbott were appointed to defend King shortly after he was indicted in May 1989 by a federal grand jury.

 

Stoler was appointed to represent King's "expressed interests" in March when a hearing was set to determine King's mental competency.

 

Kopf closed the session over the objections of Michael Cox, an attorney representing The World-Herald and KETV-Channel 7.

 

The magistrate said he closed the hearing to take statements from the defense attorneys, Achelpohl and Ms. Abbott. Their statements were in answer to questions that Kopf posed to them in writing earlier this week.

 

Cox said he registered "vigorous objection" to closing the hearing. He said he could not give details of the discussion, which took place in the judge's office, because he was prohibited by a court order from disclosing the conversation.

 

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

 


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