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.
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Mental competency trial begins for man in High Desert bunker killings

VICTORVILLE — A pair of mental health experts may have concluded that a West Covina man accused of the execution-style slayings of a young High Desert couple at an abandoned military bunker is mentally competent to go trial for the killings, say lawyers.
But the decision about Collin Lee McGlaughlin’s present mental competence won’t be up to the experts.

A jury began hearing witness testimony Wednesday as a trial began in Victorville Superior Court to determine whether McGlaughlin is compentent to go trial for the 2008 deaths of Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter of Helendale.

The jury will decide whether McGlaughlin is mentally competent now, not his state of mind when the crimes occurred.

But before any witnesses testified Wednesday, lawyers for both sides delivered their opening remarks. McGlaughlin is presumed competent, and it’s up to the defense to prove otherwise.
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Mental competency trial starts for defendant in slayings of High Desert couple

VICTORVILLE – A jury will begin hearing evidence Wednesday in the mental competency trial for a West Covina man accused of the execution-style killings of a young man and woman in 2008 at an abandoned military bunker near Helendale.

Lawyers in the trial for Collin McGlaughlin spent Monday arguing pretrial motions, deciding whether some evidence could be used at trial and selecting a jury. Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. followed by testimony Wednesday in Victorville Superior Court.

The issue before jurors is whether McGlaughlin has the necessary mental competency to go to trial again later where he will face murder charges – and the possible death penalty – in the shooting deaths of Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Bodhisattva “Bodhi” Sherzer-Potter of Helendale.
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Hearing for bunker murders postponed to January

A preliminary hearing was postponed Thursday for three men suspected in the violent shooting death of a teenaged couple following a birthday party at an abandoned military bunker in remote Helendale.

Sheriff’s officials say Collin Lee McGlaughlin, 18, of West Covina, David Brian Smith, 20, and Cameron James Thomson, 17, both of Covina, held their victims at gunpoint before shooting them inside the bunker, about 16 miles west of Barstow, on Jan. 5.

The men are scheduled to return Jan. 13 for a pre-preliminary hearing in Barstow Superior Court. If the lawyers announce they are ready for the preliminary hearing, which would determine if sufficient evidence exists to hold the defendants on the charges, it would follow within days.
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Hearing in High Desert bunker murders scheduled for November

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for next month for three men suspected in the violent shooting death of a teenaged couple following a birthday party at an abandoned military bunker in remote Helendale.

Sheriff’s officials say the defendants — Collin Lee McGlaughlin, 18, of West Covina, David Brian Smith, 20, and Cameron James Thomson, 17, both of Covina — held their victims at gunpoint inside the bunker located 16 miles west of Barstow on Jan. 5.

The hearing is set for Nov. 13 in Barstow Superior Court.

McGlaughlin had a shotgun and Smith had a Ruger Mini-14 rifle, according to court documents, but only McGlaughlin is suspected of firing the shots. Authorities suspect robbery was the initial motive, but none of the victims’ property appeared to have been taken, as noted in initial reports.

The defendants are suspected of fatally shooting Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley and his girlfriend, Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter, 16, of Helendale.
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