NewsState News

Actions

Man accused of killing two people on UCCS campus to undergo competency evaluation

Posted at 12:20 PM, Mar 18, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The suspect accused of killing two people in a University of Colorado Colorado Springs dorm room last month will undergo a mental competency evaluation.

Defense attorneys for the suspect, Nicholas Jordan, made a motion requesting the evaluation, which was granted by a judge during a status hearing Monday morning. A psychologist from the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo will evaluate Jordan to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Jeremy Loew, a Colorado Springs attorney, said incompetency usually means there are significant mental health issues getting in the way of legal proceedings.

"Oftentimes, when I have found people to be incompetent, we're dealing with some pretty severe schizophrenia, some severe bipolar, things that really are pretty observable in the court," said Loew.

He said raising competency means the suspect's attorneys are questioning whether he is able to understand what's happening during court proceedings and if he's able to help with his own defense. This is different than an insanity plea where a defense team would have to prove their client was not in their right mind at the time of the crime.

"It's not an uncommon thing for competency to be raised, especially when we're dealing with people who have been accused of murdering people," said Loew.

If the suspect is found to be incompetent, he will receive restoration treatment at the state mental health hospital until his competency is restored. However, the Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health, which oversees the two state-run psychiatric hospitals, said there is an average wait of 94 days to be admitted for restoration treatment.

Jordan Saenz, a spokesperson for the office, said right now there are 355 people waiting to be admitted for restoration treatment. She said that number is down from 460 people on the waitlist at this time last year. Saenz said the reason for the backlog is because of low staffing and a 159% increase in court orders for competency restoration treatment from Fiscal Year 17-18 to Fiscal Year 22-23.

It's not clear when Jordan's competency evaluation will be complete. He will be back in court on April 12th at 11 a.m. for a review hearing to check the status of the competency evaluation.

His preliminary hearing originally scheduled for March 27 will be postponed until the judge deems Jordan competent to stand trial.

BACKGROUND

Colorado Springs Police arrested Jordan on Monday, Feb. 19, three days after he allegedly shot and killed one of his roommates and another person inside their shared dorm room. Police said officers found the suspect in a vehicle with a handgun and a loaded AK-47 about three miles west of campus following the Feb. 16 shooting.

WATCH: Affidavit: UCCS shooting suspect threatened to kill roommate over taking out trash

Samuel Knopp, 24, and Celie Rain Montgomery, 26, were found dead with at least one gunshot wound each just after 6 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16 by UCCS Campus Police. Knopp was identified as Jordan's roommate and arrest papers said the two had a previous argument, in which Jordan allegedly threatened to kill Knopp over taking out the trash.

RELATED:
Weapons policy on CU campuses a topic for regents within the last year

UCCS allows guns on campus with permits, campus shooting suspect didn’t comply

Two dead after shooting at UCCS, reaction from students and city leaders

Mayor calls for communication changes after UCCS shooting

Following last week’s tragedy where two people died in a shooting on campus, UCCS hosted a healing walk

UCCS students return to class after last week's shooting, what the return looks like
____

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.