Crossbow killing: Grass Valley man deemed incompetent to stand trial
A Nevada County judge has ruled that Arthur Prosser of Grass Valley ” previously sent to a lockdown mental institution for alleged felony crimes ” is not mentally competent to stand trial in the slaying of his brother with a crossbow.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Julie McManus made the ruling after she reviewed a report by psychiatrist Donald Stembridge of Yuba City, who examined Prosser earlier this month, according to court records. The medical report is confidential, McManus ordered.
Later this week, McManus is scheduled to review an additional mental health report on Prosser by Harper Medical Group Inc., Central Valley Regional Conditional Release Program of Placer County.
McManus ordered CONREP or its designee on Feb. 14 to examine Prosser and submit a written recommendation “as to whether the defendant should be committed to a state hospital or any other residential facility,” court records show.
The mental health professionals also are charged with determining whether an order from the judge is necessary for the “involuntary administration of psychotropic medication,” according to Prosser’s court file.
“The (doctors) are trying to restore (Prosser) to competency,” District Attorney Cliff Newell said Monday. “If they do, then he’ll come back, start from scratch and stand trial. If his competency is not restored, he would stay in a mental institution.”
Arthur Prosser has a history of mental health issues, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Smith told The Union on Monday. This information about Prosser’s background previously had not been confirmed.
Prosser was charged by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office in 1992 of assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, Smith said.
“There was a trial regarding (Prosser’s) sanity, and he was found to be insane,” Smith said. “He was sent to a lockdown mental institution where his sanity was restored, so he was released to an outpatient rehabilitation center in Placer County in 1992 or 1993.”
Court records do not show which state institution or which Placer County outpatient facility Prosser went to, Smith said.
Patient information cannot be released without a release from the patient or the patient’s attorney, said Ned Moore, assistant to the executive director at Napa State Hospital. Officials at any state hospital cannot confirm whether Prosser spent time at their facility because of patient confidentiality laws, Moore said.
If a person is committed to a hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity because of a serious felony, he or she must first spend six months in the state hospital before being eligible to get into an outpatient rehabilitation program, according to Protection and Advocacy Inc., a advocacy group for the disabled based in Sacramento.
Prosser’s brother, Gerald Prosser, 67, was found dead Aug. 21, 2007, in a bedroom at a home the brothers shared on the 10000 block of Raker Court.
The elder brother had been shot in the neck and chest with a crossbow, sheriff’s investigators said.
Arthur Prosser alerted his Sacramento attorney of the killing and she called investigators Aug. 21 to report it. Investigators questioned the blood-spattered Prosser later that day and arrested him on suspicion of murder, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith.
The district attorney filed a murder charge against Prosser Aug. 23, and Public Defender Don Lown was assigned to represent him.
Citing miscommunications between himself and Lown, Prosser asked Judge McManus Dec. 13 to assign him a new lawyer. McManus denied Prosser’s request.
Prosser remains in custody at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility without bail, jail officials confirmed Monday.
McManus is scheduled to review the latest psychological report at 11 a.m. Friday in Nevada County Superior Court.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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