Suspect: Shooting was an accident
Psychological evaluation ordered for man accused of manslaughter
By John Weiss
PRESTON -- Choking back tears, a rural Spring Valley man accused of killing a Rochester man a week ago said the shooting was an accident.
On Thursday, during his first appearance in Fillmore District Court, Trevor Lee Morten, 30, objected to a prosecution request that he be ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if he can help in his defense against charges he killed Timothy Loeding, 33.
"I don't need no treatment," he said. "I want to get out so I can talk to his (Loeding's) family …; this was an accident."
Fillmore District Judge Robert Benson, however, cautioned Morten not to discuss any details of the shooting without talking with an attorney and also ordered him to undergo the psychological evaluation.
Morten was charged in Fillmore District Court with second-degree manslaughter, discharging a firearm in a way that endangered another and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He has served time in prison for burglary.
Morten was taken into custody Friday evening after he brought Loeding to the ambulance garage in Spring Valley. Loeding was bleeding heavily and later was pronounced dead. According to the complaint, Morten shot Loeding as he stood outside Morten's home, although there is no indication it was intentional.
Morten was taken to Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester instead of being charged immediately because he was so distraught. Authorities feared he might try to harm himself.
During Thursday's court appearance, he walked in with his head down, trying to hold back tears. His family sat behind him, some of them crying.
Acting Fillmore County Attorney Patrick Oman asked Benson to continue the hearing and order the psychological evaluation at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center in St. Peter, Minn. Oman's concern was whether Morten, in his distraught state, could help with his own defense.
Though Morten objected, and said he didn't want to take any more drugs because "they make me stupid," Benson ordered the evaluation in St. Peter.
He set bail at $200,000 without conditions and $100,000 with conditions.
Benson said he wanted that study, which will take a few days, because he is worried about Morten's mental health due to the emotional trauma he's experienced.