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Cortez murder suspect to receive second competency evaluation

Jeremiah Damron to appear in court in June
Jeremiah Damron, center, was arrested last July on suspicion of homicide.

A competency hearing for a Cortez man accused of killing his mother last July has been delayed again pending a third mental health evaluation.

Jeremiah Damron was ruled mentally incompetent to participate in his own defense in October.

The court ordered treatment and an evaluation from the Colorado Mental Health Institute. On March 2, the Institute deemed that Damron was competent to proceed, according to court records.

Damron appeared in court on Tuesday for a status conference after the Colorado Department of Human Services submitted a report on his mental state, but defense attorney John Moran, requested another competency assessment. Montezuma County District Judge Todd Plewe granted the request, scheduling Damron’s court appearance for June 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Damron was ruled incompetent to stand trial after a preliminary examination showed he suffered from serious mental health issues. His court-ordered treatment through CDHS was delayed until February.

On Tuesday, Plewe said he had found a doctor to perform another mental health assessment, but he wasn’t able to schedule an appointment with Damron until June.

Moran said Damron had appeared mentally competent earlier in the year but recently has behaved similarly to the way he did leading up to his mother’s death. Moran referred to a “cyclical nature” of Damron’s mental health issues.

If the defense and prosecution cannot agree on competency status for Damron, an evidence hearing will be held and the judge will make the decision on competency.

Damron, 36, was arrested July 20 on suspicion of homicide after the burned body of his mother, Kristie Damron, was found in his backyard on County Road 21.75. He was charged with first-degree murder on July 28 and is being held at Montezuma County Detention Center, with a protection order that forbids contact between him and several family members. A first-degree murder charge carries a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum sentence of death.


July 20, 2017:

The body of Damron’s mother, 62-year-old Kristie Damron, is found apparently beaten and burned to death in his backyard early in the morning. Cortez police and sheriff’s deputies arrest Damron on North Sligo Street at 10:25 a.m.

July 24, 2017:

Damron appears in Montezuma County District Court for an advisement hearing. His bail is set at $500,000, and he is ordered to undergo a mental competency evaluation through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

July 28, 2017:

Damron is charged with first-degree murder. His mental competency hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6, and his preliminary hearing for Sept. 22.

Sept. 6, 2017:

Damron’s hearings are delayed after CDHS says the results of his evaluation will not be available until October.

Oct. 17, 2017:

Damron is ruled mentally incompetent to participate in his defense. District Judge Todd Plewe orders him to undergo treatment at the CDHS Institute in Pueblo.

Jan. 16, 2018:

CDHS requests a delay in Damron’s treatment, and his hearing is postponed to April 3. Plewe turns down a request to reduce bail.

March 2:

Damron is deemed competent to proceed by CDHS Institute, according to court records.

April 17, 2018:

Plewe grants a defense request for a second assessment. The next competency hearing is June 22.

The Journal

Jun 22, 2018
Competency hearing scheduled for Cortez murder suspect
Apr 30, 2018
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Jan 16, 2018
Judge declines to reduce bond in Cortez murder case
Oct 17, 2017
Cortez homicide suspect ruled incompetent to stand trial