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Mark Latunski's lawyer awaits results of competency exam

Posted at 7:29 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 06:34:12-05

LANSING, Mich. — On Tyrrel Road, at the home at the center of a murder investigation, the Latunski mailbox is gone and the block is as quiet as the case.

Court proceedings are currently paused while doctors try to answer one question, is Mark Latunski mentally fit to stand trial for murder?

Latunski is charged with killing and mutilating 25-year-old Kevin Bacon from Swartz Creek in late December.

"Everything stops when we file a motion for a forensic evaluation," said Shiawassee County public defender Douglas Corwin. "Mr. Latunski had that evaluation done and now the forensic center is pulling in prior history, current history, and looking at everything to determine mental status."

Corwin requested the evaluation because of his own concerns about his client's mental state and he says it's not getting any better.

"There has not been a change at this time, in fact, I think he's getting worse. His ability to distinguish what is real and what is not," said Corwin drifting off and not finishing his sentence.

He says that presents another challenge for Latunski's defense.

"I think he knows the charges, but because of what's going on with his thinking, he's not able to help us defend him. The other day I talked to him, I had three questions for him that took 45 minutes to kind of get an answer out of him," said Corwin.

The gruesome nature of the crime has led to hate mail for Corwin.

"I haven't had anybody really threaten my life, but just a lot of bad talk out there. Our department, this is our job, it's what we do. Everybody deserves a good confident legal defense," said Corwin.

Corwin is a pastor in Corunna when he's not in the public defender's office. He says he often relies on his faith to guide him through cases.

"I don't look at the ethics behind it or anything that he did. I'm there to work in his best interest at this point because I don't believe him to be competent," said Corwin.

There will be a competency hearing after the forensic report is completed.

If Latunski is found incompetent he'll be hospitalized in a lock-down facility and have periodic reviews on his mental state.

If he shows no improvement after 15 months, then he'll be reassessed and the forensic center will decide on the best treatment going forward.

Latunski was found incompetent back in 2013 when he was charged with parental kidnapping. That case was ultimately dismissed.

His foreclosed home will go up for auction on February 26th. There will be no public viewing of the house before the auction.

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