ROCKWELL CITY - Court proceedings against a man accused of killing a Rockwell City police officer have been put on hold and a psychiatric competency evaluation has been ordered for the suspect.
Corey A. Trott, 32, of Rockwell City, is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the shooting death of Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting on Sept. 13, 2013.
District Court Judge Thomas Bice ordered Tuesday that Trott undergo the evaluation.
In his ruling, Bice wrote the court found "probable cause that the defendant is suffering from a mental disorder which may prevent the defendant from appreciating the charge, understanding the proceedings or assisting effectively in his defense."
Bice ordered the court proceedings suspended until Trott can undergo a psychiatric competency evaluation at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale.
"In the event the defendant is found to be incompetent, restoration to competency will be performed," Bice wrote in his ruling.
Calhoun County Attorney Tina Meth-Farrington said the ruling effectively puts the case on hold.
"Nothing new will happen until after the evaluation is completed, and another hearing will be scheduled to determine if he is actually competent," Meth-Farrington said. "Today's hearing was a probable cause hearing, and that was just to determine if there is probable cause to believe he may be suffering from mental deficiency."
Despite the ruling, Meth-Farrington said Trott's April 21 trial, which will be held in Wright County, will remain scheduled.
"We're still keeping it on the calendar and hoping the evaluation can be done quickly, and we can get this issue resolved," she said. "We also realize that we are not in control of Oakdale."
The Iowa Medical and Classification Center Forensic Psychiatric Hospital has been ordered to file a written report within 10 days of Trott's evaluation. That report, which will be made available to the prosecutors and defense attorneys, will be sealed and not available for public inspection.
If Trott is determined to be incompetent, reports will be made to the court every 30 days concerning his progress.
Attempts to reach Trott's attorney, Charles Kenville, were not successful Tuesday.
Trott has been in custody since Sept. 13, 2013, when he allegedly shot and killed Buenting during a standoff in Rockwell City.
Trott, who had an arrest warrant on an assault charge, was reported inside 502 Pleasant St., Rockwell City, and refused to come out when officers knocked on the door.
At 1:15 a.m., officers with a tactical team attempted to make contact with Trott.
Around 1:40 a.m., Trott allegedly fired one gunshot, which struck Buenting, who was pronounced dead after being taken to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City.
Trott surrendered to law enforcement at 5:32 a.m. after a negotiation team was brought in.
He is being held in the Webster County Jail.
Buenting, 37, was a 12-year veteran of law enforcement and had been with the Rockwell City Police Department for eight years. He had previously been an officer with the Manson Police Department.
He is survived by a wife and two children.