De Kieu "Lisa" Duy, the woman charged with a 1999 shooting rampage at the Triad Center, needs to be seen again by the two mental health professionals who originally evaluated her, according to a judge.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton on Friday ordered that two mental health professionals reassess Duy to determine the 29-year-old woman's competency to stand trial. Their reports are due by April 16, and Duy will have another court hearing April 23.

Various mental health experts over time have offered differing opinions about whether Duy is competent — a situation that lawyers say frustrates relatives of Anne Sleater, who was killed, as well as other victims.

The results of the latest report from Robert Sawicki, a neuropsychologist, say Duy is competent to stand trial.

In their original assessments of Duy, Stephen Golding, a forensic psychologist, and Jeffrey Kovnick, a psychiatrist, agreed that Duy was incompetent, Michael Peterson, one of Duy's defense attorneys, said outside the courtroom.

But in 2002, psychologist Gerald Berge deemed Duy "marginally competent," and Kovnick also changed his view and determined that Duy was competent to stand trial, but Golding did not agree, Peterson said.

Duy, who has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and has been getting treatment, has "clearly improved" but not enough to stand trial, according to Peterson.

"She is so seriously mentally ill that I believe . . . this is not an individual who can be restored to competency," Peterson said.

"She's delusional. She hears voices and thinks they're real and belong to an outside source that we can call as a witness," said Peterson, who has met with Duy twice in recent weeks. Duy also thinks the outside source gets broadcast through TV and radio, Peterson said.

Duy has been in custody since she allegedly committed the crimes and has been housed at the Utah State Hospital.

The judge Friday acknowledged the feelings of the victims and their relatives. "It may be very frustrating to have this case go on and on and on. Victims do have rights."

However, Atherton said the rights of the person charged with the crime must be respected, too.

"As a matter of law and constitutional protection, a person may not go to trial if not competent," Atherton said. "It's the fair thing to do. You cannot subject a person who is not able to participate in a meaningful way to a criminal prosecution. I cannot conclude Miss Duy can participate in a meaningful way."

The judge, defense attorneys and prosecutors all repeatedly said the charges against Duy will not be dropped and she will not be released from the hospital until the case has been resolved in court.

The state can hold Duy in the mental hospital for 5 1/2 years on the criminal charges. If she is not competent by then, she can be civilly committed and the charges would remain, because there is no statute of limitations on murder charges.

Duy does not have to be completely mentally healthy to stand trial. She simply must be able to understand the charges against her, comprehend how the criminal justice system works and be able to help an attorney in her defense.

Prosecutors Robert Stott and Clark Harms conferred with victims and family members for some time Friday afternoon.

Stott would like to see Duy ruled competent before the 5 1/2-year time limit runs out. "We won't have to commit her civilly and the longer she remains incompetent, the longer we worry about witnesses," Stott said, adding that over time witnesses can die, leave the area or begin to forget details of the crime.

Duy is charged with capital murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com