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Competency Hearing for Man Accused of North Dakota Murder - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Competency Hearing for Man Accused of North Dakota Murder

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Testimony got underway Tuesday, in the Richland County District Court in Montana on the competency of kidnapping and murder suspect Michael Spell.

At issue is whether Spell will stand trial for the murder of Sidney High School teacher Sherry Arnold.
  
On Tuesday, State District Court Judge Richard Simonton spent the day listening to two expert witnesses for Spell's defense.
 
A psychologist from North Carolina studied Spell and says he has the intelligence level of an 11-year-old. An evaluation by the Montana State Hospital diagnosed Spell with an intellectual disability and determined he is not fit for trial.
 
But, the doctors also say Spell exaggerated his lack of intelligence and might have given the wrong answers during testing on purpose.
 
The second expert witness for the defense says it's not true, and Spell's test results represent someone who truly has an intellectual disability.
 
State Prosecutors say they have two expert witness who will give testimony during the hearing. They are expected to testify that Spell is competent to be tried for Sherry Arnold's murder.

Spell's co-defendant in the case, Lester Waters, has agreed to a plea deal, that calls for Waters to testify against Spell if the case goes to trial.

Prosecutors say Waters and Spell abducted Sherry Arnold while she was out for a morning jog. They are accused of killing her and burying her body in a North Dakota field.

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