Laurel man charged with Billings murder found fit for trial afte - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Laurel man charged with Billings murder found fit for trial after months at State Hospital

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Garrett Lee Crandell, 28. (YCDF) Garrett Lee Crandell, 28. (YCDF)

Months after he was previously found incompetent to stand trial for the 2015 drug-related murder of a man in Downtown Billings, the judge determined the Laurel man is fit for trial.

Garrett Crandell, 29, is charged with deliberate homicide for the murder of Clinton Old Bull, 25, in October of 2015.

A judge ruled in December that Crandell was unfit for trial and placed him in the custody of the Montana State Hospital.

At a hearing on Thursday in Yellowstone County District Court, Judge Rod Souza ruled that Crandell is now fit to stand trial after hearing testimony from a forensic psychiatrist who has been treating Crandell.

“I believe he does have a serious mental illness," said Virginia Hill, the psychiatrist. “This week he completed a clay project, played basketball, trivial pursuit. He was never impaired there.”

Hill said there was some worry that Crandell was exaggerating some of his symptoms, considering his behavior and participation would deteriorate in cognitive groups.

According to Hill, Crandell self-reported that he’d attempted suicide in July.

Crandell said he’d taken a lethal dose of a medication he’d been saving in his mouth instead of consuming each day.

But Hill said Crandell did not experience any symptoms of a drug overdose, so it’s difficult to tell if he is exaggerating or fabricating his suicide attempt.

Crandell did leave at least two suicide notes, according to Hill.

Crandell has been in custody for nearly two years since he allegedly shot Old Bull on the doorstep of a home on North 24th Street in Billings.

Prosecutors said the shooting was a robbery attempt, where Crandell shot Old Bull in an effort to steal drugs from him.

Another defendant, Ross Breshears, 28, is also charged with the murder.

The case against Breshears has effectively been on hold pending Crandell’s competency evaluation.

Witnesses told investigators that Crandell and Breshears had plotted to rob a woman at the address where Old Bull was killed.

Old Bull answered the door when Crandell knocked and shots were fired moments later.

Witnesses said they did not observe any struggle or fight before the murder.

A new trial date has yet to be set.

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