WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A judge has ordered the Purdue University student charged with the murder of his roommate in October to be committed to a mental health institution in an effort to restore his competency to stand trial.
In December, Tippecanoe Circuit Judge Sean Persin issued an order saying that “reasonable grounds exist to further evaluate” Ji Min Sha’s competency for trial. A doctor had previously examined Sha in October and turned those findings over to the court.
In March, two psychologists — one from Indiana University and another from Indiana Phycological Services, L.L.C. — returned their evaluations to the judge. Both hold the opinion that Sha is incompetent to stand trial and meets the criteria for schizophrenia. They found he is not currently capable of understanding the legal proceedings against him or able to assist his counsel in his defense.
The psychologists also share the opinion that the defendant would likely benefit from commitment to the Indiana Division of Mental Health for inpatient restoration treatment.
“I believe it is likely Mr. Sha will be restored to competence in the near future, should he take take antipsychotic medication on a consistent basis,” said IU’s George Parker, M.D.
“Mr. Sha would benefit from commitment to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction for inpatient restoration of his competency to stand trial. This is the least restrictive environment appropriate to meet Mr. Sha’s needs,” said Dr. Joanna Will with Indiana Psychological Services, L.L.C.
While the State of Indiana does not agree that Sha is incompetent to stand trial, it also does not object to restoration. Legal proceedings will be delayed while Sha receives treatment and continue after he attains the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of his defense.
Within 90 days of Sha’s initiation of competency restoration services, the institution providing such services must certify to the court whether Sha has “substantial probability” of attaining the ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of his defense in “the foreseeable future.”
“If substantial probability does not exist, the state institution or the third-party contractor shall initiate regular commitment proceedings,” states the judge’s order.