Cambria man accused in half brother's death is found mentally incompetent

Brandon Noble Henslee
Brandon Noble Henslee

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

After reviewing two reports submitted by psychiatric experts, Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy determined that Brandon Henslee, 22, is not currently able to mentally assist his own defense. Henslee is charged with murdering Tyler Hanks, 20.

Hanks’ body was found under a tree in a wooded area roughly a 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 around 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 Wednesday. Duffy said he has been placed in a safety cell for his own and others’ safety. She did not elaborate on why.

Defendants declared incompetent to stand trial are sent to mental health facilities, where they receive treatment until they are able to assist their defense. Their cases are suspended until they are successfully treated.

Henslee’s next hearing, Dec. 24, could determine where he will be sent for treatment.