A status conference was held in Otter Tail County District Court Thursday to determine the status of a local murder case.
William Lynn Hillman, 22, of Pine River is accused of using a pipe wrench to kill Denise McFadzen, 42, and Dalton McFadzen, 21, a mother and son, while he was living with them at their mobile home in Otter Tail County about 7 miles southeast of Frazee.
According to the complaint filed in Otter Tail County District Court, Hillman is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, because he intended to kill the victims, but the act on April 17, 2018, was not premeditated.
According to court records, Hillman had dealt with mental health issues in the past, and was released from St. Peter’s in Anoka, a mental health facility, within eight months prior to the murders.
Hillman was ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if he was competent to stand trial. He underwent evaluation at St. Peter’s in Anoka, and Dr. Gregory Hanson said in his June 21, 2018 report that Hillman “currently did not have the mental capacity to participate in this criminal proceeding or assist with his defense,” according to court records.
Hillman was placed into a mental health facility after civil commitment proceedings.
Criminal trial proceedings started on May 15, after subsequent evaluations by Hanson found that Hillman had returned to competency and could face trial.
District Judge Kevin Miller ordered that Hillman be examined by Lakeland Mental Health Center in Fergus Falls, to be completed within 60 days. A report was ordered detailing Hillman’s mental condition, and an opinion as to whether or not, because of mental illness at the time of the act, he was unable to discern that it was wrong.
Under state law, either the prosecution or defense can require Hillman to be re-evaluated by a specialist of their choosing, and the prosecution exercised that right after seeing the report.
The results of that second examination had not yet been seen by the defense team as of late Wednesday afternoon, according to Steve Bergeson, assistant state public defender in the case.
The status conference on Thursday was "to talk about the status of the case, where it’s at, where the second report is at," he said.
Even if the report appeared in time for the Thursday hearing, “there’s no time now for a proper review,” he said, adding that he asked the judge in a letter Wednesday to set a hearing date in November.
The next court hearing is set for Oct. 22, according to the Otter Tail County Court Administrator’s Office.