Murder charge dropped after judge rules man incompetent

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — A second-degree murder charge has been dropped against a man accused of killing his landlord after a judge found the man not competent to stand trial.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge Dave Needy’s decision to drop the charge against Justin Morgan Daly came after a psychologist released a report on whether Daly was exaggerating his mental illness.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports Needy signed the order Thursday.

Daly is accused of bludgeoning his landlord with a baseball bat and cutting the man’s head with a chain saw in 2012.

A psychologist-forensic evaluator said Daly refused to leave his cell for his evaluation, so testing wasn’t completed.

Court documents said Needy used previous reports to rule on Daly’s competency.

Daly will now be evaluated for civil commitment to a psychiatric hospital, as was done in 2016 when his case was first dismissed for competency reasons.