Landlord was bludgeoned, cut with chain saw. Now court will test suspect’s mental competency

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Justin Morgan Daly will undergo another competency evaluation after his lawyer and a prosecutor agreed Thursday that such an evaluation should be done.

An evaluator from Western State Hospital will come to the Skagit County Community Justice Center within the next few weeks to determine whether Daly understands the murder charge he’s facing and whether he is capable to assist in his defense.

Daly is accused of bludgeoning his landlord, 52-year-old Louis Auriemma, with a baseball bat and cutting the man’s head with a chain saw on Oct. 8, 2012.

Daly is facing a second-degree murder charge.

The case has been delayed multiple times over the past five years as Daly’s mental competency has been called into question.

He was civilly committed to Western State after charges against him were dismissed in May 2016 because he was deemed not competent to assist in his defense.

Prosecutor Paul Nielsen said last week that Western State has determined Daly is ready for reintegration into society, but it did not make a determination on whether he is competent to stand trial.

Charges were refiled Dec. 13 by the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office after Daly returned to Skagit County from Western State.