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Teen suspected in killing and rape to take mental test


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POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009

When Honolulu police arrested Vernon P. Bartley on suspicion of raping and killing his 51-year-old neighbor, he complained of hallucinations and had trouble sleeping, his lawyer said in court papers.

;  Bartley, 16, is facing murder, sexual assault, robbery and other charges as an adult in connection with the May 25, 2007, strangulation of Karen Ertell in her Ewa Beach home. He was 15 at the time.

His lawyer, Jeffrey Hawk, also said a psychiatrist examined Bartley and diagnosed him as suffering from a major depressive disorder at the time he was accused of killing Ertell.

Circuit Judge Michael Wilson has ordered Bartley to undergo examination by a panel of three mental health experts to determine whether he is mentally fit to proceed with trial and whether mental incapacitation prevents him from being legally responsible for his actions at the time of the crime.

Wilson has scheduled a hearing for May.