Man charged in sword killing declared not competent for trial

Jefferson County court suspends trial until man regains competency
Man charged in sword killing declared not competent for trial
Young Choi

The man charged with killing another man in June using a sword has been declared incompetent to stand trial.

Young Choi, 29, of Watertown, was arrested July 31. According to a criminal complaint, police said Choi stabbed his neighbor, Dustin Vanderheyden, 27, in the abdomen and partially scalped him June 19. Vanderheyden died about four hours later in surgery.

In the trial Friday at the Jefferson County courthouse, Choi wanted to represent himself, according to court records. Dr. Kent Berney, caretaker of Choi after the incident, was called to testify by telephone. Berney did not anticipate being called to testify and explained that he did not have his reports on Choi with him.

During the call, Berney told the court that he believed Choi was incompetent to proceed with the trial, which the state agreed to.

The court suspended the proceedings and committed Choi for an indeterminate term not to exceed 12 months.

It was determined that Choi could regain competency after treatment and medication.

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