A man facing charges related to a multi-county crime spree has been found incompetent to stand trial in Grant County.
James Kruger, 36, is charged in Dane, Iowa and Grant counties with numerous counts related to a crime spree in early September that ended in a high-speed chase that included a man he took hostage. A judge on Monday found him incompetent to stand trial and committed him to a mental institution for up to one year, according to the Grant County Clerk of Courts office.
Kruger faces 16 charges in Grant County including armed robbery, battery, false imprisonment and bail jumping. He also faces a federal charge for a felon who had a firearm and 22 counts in Iowa County.
In a preliminary hearing in Grant County on Sept. 25, Deputy Adam Day detailed a robbery, saying Kruger admitted to Day in a recording that he owed someone money and thought his uncle had $1 million.
When the alleged crimes and high-speed chase ended in a ditch off Highway 151 near Mount Horeb, Day transported Kruger to jail and noted his behavior.
“I wouldn’t call it wigged out or paranoid. I’d call it under the influence of crack cocaine. That’s what he told me he was under,” said Day.
Kruger’s defense attorney argued he never hurt the kidnapped farmer, who escaped when they stopped in Dodgeville.
Kruger's mother, Barbara Nicholson, told News3 her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 14. She said he was arrested Aug. 29 and held in the Dane County Jail.
Kruger called home, claiming his medication wasn't working. She said he wasn't given his medication at the jail. News3 hasn't been able to independently confirm that.
Nicholson said he described feeling delusional when he was let out of jail.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told News 3 in a previous interview Kruger was in court Sept. 4 on a charge of eluding an officer, and an assistant district attorney only asked for a signature bond because they thought he would be held on a probation hold, but his probation ended in August.
Nicholson said he'd been without medication for five days and then "this horror happened."