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Psychologist says man accused of first-degree murder at Colorado Springs hotel 'not competent to proceed'

October 29, 2015 Updated: October 29, 2015 at 10:35 pm
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photo - Michael Jonathan Ray
Michael Jonathan Ray 

On Thursday, a forensic psychologist painted 34-year-old Michael Jonathan Ray as a paranoid, delusional man who goes through life believing that "anyone anywhere at any time" is part of a conspiracy to kill him.

Nicole Schneider took the stand as an expert witness for the defense at a hearing in 4th Judicial District Court to determine whether Ray is mentally competent to stand trial in the August 2014 stabbing death of 31-year-old Patrick Hampton.

The first question defense attorney Chad Miller asked the psychologist was about her conclusion after nine hours of interviews with Ray. Schneider's response was brief and direct.

"Mr. Ray is not competent to proceed at this point," she said.

Schneider talked with Ray for about five hours in January and for four more in June. The psychologist told Judge Jann DuBois that she diagnosed Ray with delusional disorder because he has been "infiltrated by persecutory delusions."

Ray is accused of killing Hampton in the parking lot of the Comfort Suites on Kelly Johnson Boulevard in northern Colorado Springs. An arrest affidavit said that Hampton and his wife, Brooklyn, were homeless and gave Ray a ride while on a cross-country trip that began in Erwin, Tenn. Ray offered the couple money in exchange for a seat in their car.

The Hamptons stopped at the hotel but couldn't afford a room, so they slept in the parking lot, the report said. Sometime during the night, Patrick woke and went to the car to get something. That's when Ray allegedly stabbed him multiple times with a knife.

During Schneider's testimony Thursday, she said the stabbing and Ray's subsequent flee from the scene played right into his conspiracy delusions.

The affidavit said that Ray mentioned to police "something about killing Patrick before Patrick killed him."

The psychologist told the court that Ray's "rational understanding impedes his ability to work with his attorneys." Schneider listed more than a dozen delusions that she said Ray spoke about during the interviews.

Thursday's competency hearing was scheduled after Schneider's assessment conflicted with reports from mental health experts who conducted assessments of Ray for the prosecution.

The hearing will be continued Dec. 28 when three experts are expected to take the stand for the District Attorney's Office. At least one of those psychologists will be from the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, where Ray would be treated if DuBois finds him incompetent.

Ray has been held in the El Paso County jail without bond since his arrest in 2014 on suspicion of first-degree murder.

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