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Man found competent to face murder charges

A Kearns man has been found mentally competent to stand trial on charges of murder and desecration of a body in connection with the death of his 72-year-old mother.

In a hearing Friday, 3rd District Judge Dennis Fuchs said that after reviewing mental evaluations, he found Matthew Kirkham, 34, was mentally competent to face trial on the first-and third-degree felony counts.

The body of Joann Kirkham was found by one of her sons-in-law in her bedroom last June. Neighbors had also told police that they began seeing Matthew Kirkham driving his mother's car, which they thought unusual.

Police found the home in disarray and "unusual amounts of blood" in the bedroom. Kirkham, who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia and lived with his mother, was seen fighting with his mother in the front yard of the home over her attempt to kick him out of the house a day before she disappeared.

Police reported there was evidence of a physical altercation and believe Kirkham hit his mother with a rock and forced her to breathe paint from a bag until she died, according to court documents.

In court Friday, Fuchs ordered Kirkham held in jail without bail pending a hearing Oct. 27 and ordered Kirkham to take all prescribed medications.