Bret Black Murder Trial Postponed
On September 13th, Storey County District Attorney Anne Langer filed a motion to address Bret Black’s potential incompetence. According to the Court Order issued by Judge James Wilson, Ms. Langer based her motion on a letter from Dr. Dickran H Gulesserian dated September 18th, 2017. In his letter, Dr. Gulesserian indicates that he has treated Mr. Black since 2016. During his treatment of Mr. Black, Dr. Gulesserian has noticed several conditions including the onset of Dementia.
Dr. Gulesserian concludes that Mr. Black suffers from memory loss and related issues. These conditions occur with greater frequency and have become more pronounced over time. Dr. Gulesserian recommended that Mr. Black be placed in a senior living facility where he can receive direct care and supervision. Mr. Black was released to the care of his son, a fire battalion chief in Fresno, since the preliminary hearing held last year, which you can read about here.
After the preliminary hearing, Mr. Black moved in with his son for a time and was then placed into a senior care facility in California. After the hearing last week, Mr. Black returned to California with his son to his senior care facility until he can be evaluated at the Lakes Crossing facility. Lake’s Crossing Center is a maximum security psychiatric facility providing evaluations of legal competency, risk assessments and recommendations for treatment. NRS 178.415 requires the court appoint two psychiatrists, two psychologists, or one psychiatrist and one psychologist to examine the defendant. These doctors must be certified by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Black will be placed into Lakes Crossing to undergo testing.
Langer Explains Filing For Postponment
I asked Storey County DA Anne Langer why this evaluation was conducted a year after Dr. Gulesserian filed his report and so close to the trial date. Ms. Laner explained, “The only way to know the competency of a person standing trial for murder is to conduct the competency evaluation just before the trial. A person’s mental condition can change from better to worse, or from worse to better over time. The only way to obtain a clear picture of the mental competency of a person right now is to evaluate them today. Evaluating someone a year before trial would not be an accurate reflection of that person’s mental condition a year later.”
The order issued by Judge Wilson suspends the proceedings until Mr. Black’s competency is determined. Once that decision is made, things will either proceed to trial or Mr. Black may be committed to a care facility. We expect to hear from the court in the coming weeks and will file another report when this information becomes available.