Murder Suspect, Ruled Mentally Ill, Returns To Court

After years of getting treatment in a mental institution, a man police say killed his wife and Lexington firefighter Brenda Cowan, headed back to court Thursday.

The hearing began the process of deciding whether Patrick Hutchinson is competent enough to stand trial for murder.

Before, he was declared too mentally ill.

During Thursday's hearing, prosecutors talked about Hutchinson's involuntary hospitalization. Every year, he must be declared mentally ill, and a threat to himself and society for the hospitalization to continue.

Another hearing next Tuesday will include a doctor, who will give a status of Hutchinson's mental condition.

At that time, the court may decide if Hutchinson is competent to stand trial for murder.

The murder charges were dropped in 2004, but they'll be reinstated if he's found competent.

Police say Hutchinson shot his wife, and then killed firefighter Brenda Cowan, after she responded to the scene.

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