Mental fitness trial delayed

LIHUE — A Princeville man accused of attempted second-degree murder will wait another month for the court to determine his mental fitness for trial.

Kyle Matthew Welch, 27, was in 5th Circuit Court on Thursday for a hearing that was to determine if his case would go to trial or whether he would be found not fit to proceed.

Welch was arrested Jan. 9, for using a machete to injure a 42-year-old man, and threatening another at Anini Beach. He was indicted for attempted second-degree murder, and first-degree terroristic threat, before pleading not guilty on Jan. 16.

Private attorney Mark Zenger was appointed by the court to represent Welch after the state Public Defender’s Office declared a conflict in the case for having represented witnesses or victims in the other cases.

A motion for an examination of Welch to determine fitness to proceed, and penal responsibility for reason of physical or mental disease, disorder or defect was granted on Feb. 13. There was a change of plea hearing on July 14 that was continued until after all three reports were received.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano directed Zenger to make copies of the medical files available to the court and also to the three panels of examiners so that they could amend their reports if necessary.

A status of reports hearing was scheduled for Dec. 11, at which time the court would see if any of the three doctors had made changes to their recommendations for fitness.

If the court rules that Welch is unfit, a not guilty plea may follow on grounds of lack of capacity to understand the process or the severity of his actions. An order to place the defendant with the Department of Health for a review would follow.

If found fit for trial, the matter would continue to trial April 21 unless the trial date is continued.

Welch continues to be held at Kauai Community Correctional Center.

His bail set at $750,000.

Welch has a previous arrest on Kauai for disorderly conduct on April 29, 2013. He was listed as a resident of Lawai at the time.


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