Saturday, May 27, 2023

Crime spree suspect ruled unfit to stand trial

Hagadone News Network | April 17, 2022 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A judge ruled Thursday that a man who allegedly tried to escape the county jail earlier this month is unfit to stand trial.

Jesse R. Spitzer, 30, of Sultan, Wash., was arrested in January for a string of alleged burglaries and vehicle thefts in Washington and North Idaho.

He was booked into the Kootenai County Jail on 30 charges, most of them felonies, and held on $1 million bail.

He’s facing additional charges of injuring jails and escape by a felon, both felonies, after he allegedly escaped his cell in the early hours of April 3.

At that time, the court had already ordered Spitzer to undergo a competency evaluation.

A pretrial hearing in Spitzer’s case was scheduled Friday.

Instead, First District Judge Lamont Berecz ruled Thursday that Spitzer is both “dangerous and mentally ill,” as defined by Idaho Code 66-1305, and lacks the capacity to make informed decisions about his treatment.

In 2011, Spitzer pleaded guilty to attempted murder with a deadly weapon and burglary after reportedly shooting at a sheriff’s sergeant while trying to avoid arrest in Nevada.

Because of his prior convictions, as well as the nature of the charges he’s currently facing and his recent alleged escape attempt, the court committed Spitzer to care and treatment at an Idaho Department of Correction facility.

Under Idaho law, Spitzer will be held for up to 90 days and undergo treatment in an attempt to restore his competency in order for him to stand trial.

If his competency is restored, criminal proceedings will continue. If not, treatment will continue for another 180 days.

The alleged crime spree that landed Spitzer in jail began after he was suspected of stealing a vehicle in east Snohomish County on Jan. 21.

After a weeklong, multi-state manhunt that reportedly involved several foot chases and high-speed pursuits, police arrested Spitzer after finding him hiding in a camper near the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar and Motel in Haugan, Mont.

A review hearing in Spitzer’s case is scheduled for July 12.

Recent Headlines