The move clears the way for the case to proceed in court, but does not rule out the option for Aita Gurung to claim he was insane at the time of the offense.
According to a recent court filing, the attorney general is nearing a plea deal on an attempted murder charge, which had been dropped by prosecutor Sarah George.
The ruling Thursday puts the case back in a Burlington courtroom where mental health evaluations of Aita Gurung are expected to be at issue.
The hearing before the Vermont Supreme Court was the latest turn in a legal and political battle in the three-year-old case of a man accused of using a meat cleaver to kill his wife in Burlington.
Attorney General TJ Donovan had refiled criminal charges against Gurung, but the case is now on hold after a doctor found and a judge ruled that Gurung is not competent to stand trial.
The ruling puts an indefinite hold on legal proceedings against the man accused of killing his wife with a meat cleaver.
Prosecutors questioned a forensic psychologist who disagreed with an earlier assessment by a different doctor that Aita Gurung is not competent to stand trial.
The doctor’s finding, which will be contested by the Attorney General’s Office, means the Burlington man does not have the mental capability to understand the charges against him.
The Department of Mental Health said it would not take Gurung back into their custody due to concerns including the security of their Middlesex facility.
Sarah George did the right thing legally, ethically, and – yes – politically. That’s because doing the right thing politically in American democracy does not always mean doing what most of the voters want at any moment.
Aita Gurung — who was in court for a bail hearing Wednesday that was continued — had been held at a mental health facility before the attorney general refiled murder charges.
The attorney general, however, asserted that an insanity verdict should come from a jury. Meantime, State’s Attorney Sarah George defended her decision to drop the charges.
Aita Gurung of Burlington, who is accused of killing his wife with a meat cleaver in 2017, will again face murder and attempted murder charges after they had been dropped by the state’s attorney.
The Chittenden County prosecutor worries the review sets a bad precedent and will cause more trauma for the victims’ families.