Judge rules James Donegan incompetent to stand trial

MILWAUKEE — A judge ruled on Monday, October 1st that James Donegan, the man accused of stabbing and strangling 45-year-old Teresa Boone at Kilbourn Reservoir Park, is incompetent to stand trial. 

32-year-old Donegan appeared in court on Monday via video conferencing from Mendota Mental Health Institute. When asked whether he was competent to stand trial, his defense lawyer initially answered for him saying, “We believe he is competent.”

Donegan, the son of Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Donegan, is accused of stabbing Teresa Boone to death Sunday night, September 2nd during an attempted robbery. The incident took place at Kilbourn Park in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, Donegan thought Boone and others were after him, and assumed Boone’s purse contained a gun.

Donegan says the shooting was in self-defense, and he is not mentally ill.

Donegan faces one charge of first degree intentional homicide and a second count of armed robbery with use of force.

In court Monday, one psychiatrist told the court over the phone that Donegan has schizophrenia. Another said Donegan is not competent, but is likely to regain competency.

The judge weighed the evidence, the two psychiatrists’ opinions and the fact that shortly after Donegan’s arrest he attempted to gouge out his eyeball. Since then, Donegan has been on involuntary medication.

The judge has set up another hearing date of January 10, 2013 to review that status once again. Until then, Donegan will remain at Mendota.

If convicted on the charges, Donegan faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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