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Court documents: Accused killer battled mental health problems

November 14, 2018

The Fort Wayne man who allegedly told police he was possessed by demons and Adolf Hitler when he attacked and killed his mother last month had battled mental health problems for “several years,” according to court documents filed by his lawyer. 

Jason A. Steiss, 34, is charged with murder in the Oct. 24 killing of his mother, Joy Steiss, at her home on Stanford Avenue. He told police he bit, punched and choked her, a probable cause affidavit alleges. 

Defense attorney Donald C. Swanson Jr. has asked a judge to order doctors to examine his client to determine if Steiss is competent to stand trial. 

“Reasonable grounds for a hearing exist in that the defendant has been under a guardianship for mental health reasons for several years and lacks the capacity and ability to understand the proceedings and assist in the preparation of his defense,” a document filed by Swanson in Allen Superior Court states. 

The document does not include details about Steiss’ problems. Swanson has also indicated Steiss will rely on “a defense of mental disease or defect.” 

An Allen County magistrate was scheduled to set a trial date for Steiss today. 

For more on this story, see Thursday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Thursday. 

mleblanc@jg.net

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