Dirkhising Murder Suspect Fit to Stand Trial

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Mental health experts in Arkansas have determined that 22-year-old Joshua Macabe Brown, one of two men accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old boy, is mentally competent to stand trial.

At a hearing July 10, Brown's attorneys requested copies of psychiatric papers used to make the evaluation. Benton County Circuit Judge David Clinger granted the request and ordered Brown to appear in court again on August 14. At that time, his lawyers will decide whether to challenge the ruling that Brown is competent to stand trial.

Brown and his former lover, Davis Don Carpenter, 38, are each charged with one count of capital murder and six counts of rape in the September 26, 1999 death of Jesse Dirkhising.

Autopsy reports showed that the boy died of "positional asphyxiation," prosecutors said. Police discovered Dirkhising bound with duct tape and gagged with his own underwear in Carpenter's apartment in Rogers, Arkansas after Carpenter called for help.

According to an affidavit, Brown told police he bound and blindfolded the youth, tied him to a bed and repeatedly sodomized him while Carpenter watched. The boy also had been sodomized with objects, police said.

Investigators also said they found notes from Carpenter to Brown, instructing him how to bind and sedate a child. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against both Carpenter and Brown. Each is being held in isolation without bond at the Benton County jail.

In a June 10 ruling, Clinger canceled a July 17 trial date for Carpenter so that mental health experts at the State Hospital in Little Rock could determine if he is fit to stand trial.

Earlier this year, the judge granted a defense request that both suspects be tried separately. Benton County prosecuting attorney Robin Green said Brown could be tried this year; after a mental evaluation, Carpenter's trial could begin next year. Both trials will be conducted in Benton County, she said.