Don Johns To Undergo Mental Evaluation In Murder Case
The case involving a Casper man accused of killing his roommate during an argument and fight, has been put on hold, although he wants the case to proceed to trial.
A Natrona County District Court Judge has ordered that 37 year old Don Johns undergo a mental evaluation at the State Hospital in Evanston, because Johns' attorney has cause for concern that Johns may not be mentally fit to proceed.
Johns has been charged with first degree murder, in the death of 49 year old Donald Wickersham.
Johns disagreed with his attorney's motion for the evaluation, however Wyoming law permits such a motion to be made.
Investigators with the Casper Police Department say in late August, neighboring apartment tenants on the 300 block of North Jackson Street told police that Johns and Wickersham were arguing, and several thuds and knocks could be heard.
Johns and Wickersham had been known by other neighbors to argue, and become violent and fight when they drank in the past, but this particular instance was more intense than usual and both had been drinking earlier in the evening.
Police found Wickersham dead in his apartment the next day, and determined he was stabbed 29 times, and that the attack took place in three rooms.
Officers found two smears on the bedroom carpet at the apartment, which appeared to be caused by someone wiping their shoes on the carpet.
They also found a katana in the apartment, a knife in a dumpster, and blood splatter on the rear stairwell of the apartment.
Johns later contacted investigators to have them pick him up.
He had a cut on his finger, as well as bruising elsewhere on his body, as well as blood on his shoes and clothing.
Two neighbors told investigators that Johns had stopped by on the night of the attack, and they helped him clean up and dispose of bloody rags, but they did not know what had happened, nor did Johns say anything.
Police collected the rags and some blood stained clothes, which others say Johns was wearing on the night of the attack.
Johns' ex-girlfriend told investigators that Johns had stopped by her place after the attack and said that he had killed Wickersham.
Johns is being held on $1,000,000 bond, awaiting his mental evaluation and his trial.
Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty, which means he could get up to life in prison without parole if convicted.
Johns has a number of violent felony convictions out of California and Texas.