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Murder trial delayed for new appraisal



A mentally ill man, charged with the crossbow slaying of a Spokane woman in 2008, appeared in court Friday, and yet another competency evaluation has been ordered before the case proceeds to trial.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen previously ruled that Cole K. Strandberg, 24, was not mentally competent to stand trial for the murder of 22-year-old Jennifer Bergeron on Jan. 7, 2008. Strandberg has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

However, since that January ruling Strandberg has responded well to involuntary medications. On Friday, despite objections from defense attorney Chris Bugbee of what he called a bias by officials at Eastern State Hospital, Eitzen ordered that Strandberg get another evaluation at the facility.

That information should be returned sometime in May and then the parties will schedule a status conference.

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