Longmont Man Accused of Fatally Stabbing His Brother to Undergo Competency Evaluation
A Longmont man accused of stabbing his brother to death was ordered to a competency review Thursday morning by Boulder County Judge Andrew Hartman.
Daniel Lopez, 29, was arrested at the end of September and is charged with first-degree murder, felony menacing and aggravated cruelty to animals.
According to an arrest affidavit, a neighbor saw Lopez run his brother out of their home on South Francis Street carrying a large knife . Longmont police said his brother, Thomas “TJ” Lopez, was stabbed multiple times and later died at Longmont United Hospital. It’s unclear what the two were arguing over, but police believe it may have involved a dog named Delilah that was killed and later found in a city Dumpster.
A cousin told police that Daniel Lopez suffers from schizophrenia and was not taking his medications at the time, the affidavit says. Instead, he was trying to self-medicate with marijuana, the cousin said.
At a hearing in Boulder County District Court, Hartman also released the bond for Daniel Lopez in a second open case for third-degree assault, and granted the prosecution’s request for a DNA sample.
Lopez’s family had posted the money for the $5,000 bond and requested it be returned after the murder charges were filed. Lopez is being held without bond due to those charges.
Lopez’s defense attorney asked that the court find him incompetent and request an evaluation while in custody at Boulder County Jail to avoid any undue delay. If he were to be evaluated at Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, he may be put on a waitlist for an unknown amount of time.
The Boulder County Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Catrina Weigel had filed a motion requesting that the competency evaluation be done at the state hospital in Pueblo.
Hartman ordered a preliminary finding of incompetency and agreed with the defense to order an evaluation while in custody at the jail to ensure timeliness.
Lopez will return to court on Jan. 29 to review the competency evaluation, if it has been completed by that time.
A DNA sample was taken from Lopez immediately following the hearing, as Hartman had granted the prosecution’s request despite an objection from the defense.
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, firstname.lastname@example.org