All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
(Lander, WY) – A fitness to proceed hearing that also functioned as an arraignment was held today, April 7, for Brandon Monroe, one of the four parties involved in the January 4th, 2019 murders of Jocelyn Watt and Rudy Perez.
The proceedings were overseen by the Honorable Judge Jason Conder.
A jury trial was set for September 18 at the hearing, after Monroe ultimately pled “not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency” to all four charges filed against him, which include two counts of felony murder, and two counts of murder in the 1st degree.
Each charge carries a life sentence.
Monroe, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was reportedly one of the two parties who were inside the home of Watt and Perez when the gunshots were heard and the murders occurred.
During the ensuing proceedings, it was determined that Monroe was in need of a mental evaluation to determine his fitness to proceed.
A ‘Forensic Evaluation – Competency Restoration’ report was eventually conducted by Designated Examiner Katherine Mahaffey P.H.D. and submitted on February 7, after an initial delay in the evaluation due to staffing and construction issues at the Wyoming State Hospital.
While the report was not made public, Dr. Mahaffey ultimately deemed Monroe fit to proceed.
At the April 7 fitness to proceed hearing, both the defense, represented by Curtis Chaney and Sierra Soule, and the prosecution, Patrick LeBrun, stated that they did not dispute Dr. Mahaffey’s findings, which the Court accepted.
Following this decision, the arraignment was then held where Monroe gave his “not guilty by reason of mental illness or deficiency” plea, and the September 18 jury trial was set.
County 10 will provide updates on the ensuing Jury Trial, as well as on the hearings of the other parties involved, which can be found here.