Prosecution granted access to Empie’s mental health records
KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge granted a motion Wednesday by the prosecutor for access to a Meadview murder suspect’s mental health records.
Victor Steven Empie, 64, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and attempted arson of an occupied structure. He is being held in custody on a $1 million bond.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Bob Moon asked the judge for unredacted reports from psychiatrists who previously conducted mental health evaluations on Empie to be admissible at his upcoming trial.
Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe Jr. granted that request, ruling that Empie’s attorney, Randall Craig, of Scottsdale, is bringing up an insanity defense at his trial.
Both Moon and Craig said they should be ready to go to trial in the case, which is set to begin March 19, 2019, with a pre-trial hearing set for Feb. 25. Moon also said a recent plea offer was rejected.
Empie again expressed unhappiness with his attorney over the lack of access to the evidence in the case. Craig was assigned to Empie’s case in March. Four of Empie’s previous attorneys withdrew from his murder case in February.
Empie was arrested April 8, 2016, and charged with murdering his neighbor, John Hewett Payne, 66, after a fight in Meadview. Empie allegedly crashed his truck into Payne’s recreational vehicle, knocking the trailer off its jacks, according to the sheriff’s office.
The noise of Empie’s truck crashing into their Gladiola Drive home woke up Payne and his wife. As Payne opened his front door, Empie allegedly shot Payne in the abdomen, killing him, MCSO said.
In March 2017, Empie was ruled competent to stand trial after two psychologists gave conflicting testimony about Empie’s competence. One psychologist testified that Empie was delusional, reportedly distrusting police and the judicial system.