Jury finds man mentally competent in “bunker killings” case

The man charged in the killing of a High Desert couple at an abandoned military bunker in 2008 has been found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday in the trial for Collin Lee McGlaughlin of West Covina after receiving the case for deliberation a day earlier, in Victorville Superior Court, according to court records.

McGlaughlin, 21, returns to court Jan.27. He’s accused of shooting to death Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Bodhi Sherzer-Potter, following a party at the bunker near Helendale.

Criminal proceedings in McGlaughlin’s case had been suspended while the court pursued a competency finding. The verdict means those proceedings can be reinstated.

McGlaughlin’s attorneys, Deputy Public Defenders George Wright and Rasheed Alexander, had the burden of proof in the mental competency trial.

They argued their client suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was bipolar and was unable to assist in his defense.

Prosecutors argued that McGlaughlin was malingering, or feigning his symptoms, and had planned to seek a commitment at Patton State Hospital.

Reports from a pair of mental health experts concluded McGlaughlin was mentally competent, both sides said at trial.

McGlaughlin is charged with two counts each of murder, attempted robbery and kidnapping.

He also faces special circumstances of multiple murders, murder while lying in wait, robbery and kidnapping, court records show.
If convicted, prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

mike.cruz@inlandnewspapers.com

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