BILLINGS, Mont. – A judge says a mentally disabled Colorado man is fit to stand trial in the killing of a Montana teacher who disappeared after she went jogging in the Bakken oil patch.
District Judge Richard Simonton in a Friday ruling cited testimony from a state psychiatrist that the mental disabilities suffered by 25-year-old Michael Keith Spell are not so severe to make him incompetent.
Spell is charged with the attempted kidnapping and murder of 43-year-old Sherry Arnold. The Sidney High School math teacher disappeared in January 2012 after going out for a morning jog.
Her body was found more than two months later in a shallow grave in a rural area of North Dakota.
Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty against Spell.
A co-defendant already has pleaded guilty.