Timmy Kinner in courtroom

Timmy Kinner Jr., surrounded by the defense team, appears in an Ada County courtroom on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Three months after a judge ordered Boise’s mass stabbing suspect undergo mental competency testing, a psychiatrist has found him unfit to stand trial — although prosecutors plan to contest that finding.

Timmy Kinner Jr., 30, is accused of stabbing nine refugees — including six children — the night of June 30 at an apartment complex near State Street and Wylie Lane. One of those stabbed, Ruya Kadir, 3, later died of her injuries.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Kinner faces the death penalty. Last month, 4th District Court Judge Nancy Baskin pushed his trial date back to January 2020.

But even before then the case was stymied by ongoing investigations of Kinner’s mental health. His team of attorneys voiced concerns about his competency early on, saying he’d suffered breaks with reality before, and said he was sometimes extremely difficult to work with. They were concerned he might not understand the court process and might be unable to help them with his defense.

In Idaho, the final determination of a defendant’s mental competency is made by a judge in a criminal case, though they base that ruling on assessments and testimony from psychologists and psychiatrists. If a person is found incompetent, they undergo a process of “restoration” — meaning a period of treatment, initially for 90 days, at one of Idaho’s two state hospitals, or, in the case of those deemed “dangerously mentally ill,” in a special facility at a prison. Once their competency has been restored, they return to court and proceedings resume.

A Nov. 26 report filed by Charles Novak — a psychiatrist who evaluated Kinner — backs up the defense team’s claim, David Smethers, Kinner’s attorney, said in court Thursday.

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“It’s our position (Kinner) is incompetent,” Smethers said. “It’s Dr. Novak’s position he is incompetent. He needs to be restored to competency before we can do a lot of things.”

But Dan Dinger, one of the case’s prosecutors, told Baskin prosecutors intend to contest Novak’s findings. They’re working with another doctor to examine Novak’s report, which weighs in at roughly 500 pages. Originally, attorneys agreed to discuss the report at a closed hearing on Dec. 13; after that Baskin would have made a ruling about whether Kinner was fit to stand trial or not. But Dinger asked that hearing be pushed back to give the second doctor more time with the voluminous report. Smethers didn’t think that was necessary.

“(Prosecutors) do not need an additional three to four weeks,” Smethers said. “(They) should have expected this finding of incompetency and should have planned accordingly.”

It would hurt Kinner’s case, Smethers continued, to have the hearing pushed back. The delay would keep him in the Ada County jail, and if he is incompetent, Smethers said, attorneys can’t work with him to prepare for the case.

Baskin struck a middle ground. She pushed the hearing back, but only by two weeks. The hearing is scheduled to take place on two separate days — Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 — due to scheduling conflicts. At that second hearing, Baskin will likely hand down a ruling about Kinner’s competency to move forward in the case.

Tommy Simmons is the Ada County public safety reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow him on Twitter @tsimmonsipt

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