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Man accused of murdering young siblings will get second psychiatric evaluation

June 8, 2018 Updated: June 9, 2018 at 3:47 pm
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This Oct. 17, 2017 photo provided by the Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Department shows Malik Vincent Murphy, who was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing his younger brother and sister and also attacking his father in their Colorado home. (Colorado Springs Police Department via AP)

Malik Murphy's public defenders requested a second opinion Friday after a state psychologist said the 20-year-old appears mentally fit to stand trial in the stabbing deaths of his two young siblings.

The move - granted by presiding 4th Judicial District Judge G. David Miller - comes as Murphy's prosecution hangs in limbo over whether he understands court proceedings.

Murphy is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the October stabbings of Noah, 7, and Sophia, 5, as they slept.

Investigators say Murphy turned the hunting knife on his father as Sophia screamed for help.

Murphy later told detectives he "can't stop thinking about killing people." He also said he suffers depression and anti-social personality disorder, a condition associated with homicidal and suicidal thoughts and a lack of regard for the rights and well-being of others.

The current issue of Murphy's mental fitness deals with whether he comprehends court proceedings and can help in his defense - not whether he was sane at the time of the stabbings.

A psychologist from the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo suggested he could, based on an evaluation conducted in May.

Friday, though, Miller allowed Murphy's legal team to pick a new psychologist to conduct another evaluation soon at the El Paso County jail.

If the judge rules that Murphy is incompetent, the case would be placed on hold while Murphy is treated at the Pueblo mental health facility.

Murphy's public defenders have increasingly focused on his mental fitness in recent months, eliciting testimony that Murphy banged his head against the wall or laid on the floor, repeating to himself, "no, no, no," "Oh my God, why?" and "Malik, what did you do?"

Murphy also claimed to have been treated at six or seven psychiatric facilities in recent years, and said he once plotted to strangle a classmate in a Nebraska school bathroom - only to lose his nerve and abandon the idea.

That incident prompted the family to move to Colorado Springs for a "fresh start," a detective previously testified.

Murphy's next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 4.

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