BURLINGTON, Vt. – A Vermont man accused of killing his wife with a meat cleaver in 2017 was placed in the custody of the Department of Mental Health on Monday and will be under psychiatric care for at least the next few months.
In a hospitalization hearing Monday, a judge ordered Aita Gurung be moved from prison to Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin to await a second competency hearing.
Murder and attempted murder charges against Gurung were dropped last summer after Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said she couldn’t rebut Gurung’s planned insanity defense.
Attorney General T.J. Donovan re-filed the charges in September, and Guring was moved to prison. But earlier this month a judge found Gurung was not mentally competent to stand trial.
The first-degree murder and attempted murder charges have not yet been dropped. Gurung will have another competency evaluation in two months to determine whether he can eventually stand trial.
Sandra Lee, his public defender, said his mental health has deteriorated since being in jail.
“I’m relieved for Mr. Gurung, but I’m also incredibly saddened that we’re actually here and we have to go through this process in terms of the Attorney General’s Office re-bringing this case, that we had to go through this process again given all the medical evidence,” Sandra Lee said.