Tuesday, May 15, 2001

2 doctors say
defendant fit
for trial

Accused in the 1992 murder
of his wife, William Kotis remains
at the State Hospital

By Debra Barayuga

A man accused in the shotgun murder of his wife in September 1992 is fit to proceed to trial, a doctor and a psychiatrist have testified.

Dr. Alan Taniguchi of the State Hospital and court-appointed psychiatrist David Stein are just two of several doctors expected to testify for the state that William Kotis is competent to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and assist in his defense.

Kotis is accused in the fatal shooting of his wife Lynn, 29, who was estranged from him at the time and had a temporary restraining order against him when she was killed.

Kotis was first found unfit to stand trial in 1994. He was last declared unfit to proceed on March 11, 1999, by Circuit Judge Frances Wong.

In her order, Wong found that Kotis suffers from a mental illness and emotional instability and that he malingers and engages in psychotic or delusional acts when confronted with the possibility of going to trial or with discussions about his wife's killing.

While Wong found Kotis was able to consult with his lawyer, she found he did not have the capacity to assist in his defense and suspended all proceedings.

The state renewed its efforts to bring Kotis to trial by asking that the court in March 2000 appoint a panel of doctors to determine his competence.

Taniguchi said yesterday he based his opinion on his observations of Kotis, including his ability to communicate in "coherent fashion" with the patient advocate for more privileges.

Stein indicated Kotis suffers from malingering but can understand the nature of the charges and court proceedings he faces.

The hearing was cut short yesterday when psychologist Thomas Merrill, the second of three court-appointed doctors, prepared to take the stand, and Kotis stood up and objected to his presence.

"He doesn't believe in the Bible. He's a Nazi," Kotis said as he was led away by deputy sheriffs.

The hearing was continued to May 24.

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