Cambria murder suspect unfit for trial

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJanuary 3, 2013 

A Cambria man charged with murdering his half brother last August is incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Dec. 12.

After reviewing two reports submitted by psychiatric experts, Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy determined that Brandon Henslee, 22, is mentally unable to assist in his own defense. Henslee is charged with murdering Tyler Hanks, 20.

Hanks’ body was found under a tree in a wooded area roughly half a mile from the home Hanks shared with Henslee, their mother and her husband. Witnesses said they saw Henslee moving a large yard-waste can at the time the killing is believed to have occurred. And they said they saw Henslee rinsing blood out of that same can.

During previous court proceedings, Henslee’s attorney, Fred Foss, indicated that he didn’t think Henslee was competent to stand trial. At his request, psychiatric evaluations were ordered.

Henslee didn’t appear in court Dec. 12. Duffy said he has been placed in a safety cell for his own and others’ protection.

He remains in county jail without bail.

Defendants who are declared incompetent to stand trial are sent to mental health facilities, where they receive treatment until they are able to assist in their defense. Henslee’s next hearing, set for Monday, Jan. 7, could determine where he would be sent.

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