Monday, April 9, 2012

Grand Blanc, MI: Grand Blanc man charged with killing his wife not legally insane, competency review says

FLINT, MI -- A Grand Blanc man accused of killing his wife in 2011 is not legally insane, according to a report from the Michigan Center of Forensic Psychiatry.
Ali Kurtaga, 47, is charged with open murder after authorities allege he killed his wife, Naslie Kurtaga, 42, in June 2011.

Authorities say Naslie Kurtaga died of blunt force trauma to the head. She was found dead in a bedroom at Sunset Plaza Apartments on Saginaw Road in Grand Blanc.

"The forensic center found that Mr. Kurtaga suffered a mental illness but was not legally insane," defense attorney Barry Wolf said during a Genesee Circuit Court hearing to review the results of the exam.

Authorities say Ali Kurtaga went to the Grand Blanc Police Department shortly after his wife's death and told an officer, "I just killed my wife."

It was the second of two homicides in Grand Blanc in 2011.

Kurtaga, who is Albanian and participated in the court proceeding through an interpreter, said the doctor at the forensic center did not have all the facts when the diagnosis was made.

"I have not told the truth to the doctor," said Kurtaga.

Genesee Circuit Judge Joesph J. Farah granted Wolf's request to allow his client to undergo an independent psychiatric evaluation.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the psychiatric evaluation process has a two-pronged result.

If a person is found not competent to stand trial, Leyton said the person will receive treatment until they are competent to answer to the charges.

If a person is found not criminally responsible, which is very rare, they do not understand the charges against them and the case won't go to trial, Leyton said.

A notice of an insanity defense was filed with the court in January for this case.

Leyton said he has experienced instances during his time as prosecutor when the forensic center has ruled that defendants are not criminally responsible, but he said he was unfamiliar with any case during his tenure when a jury found a suspect not guilty by reason of insanity.

In a case where an insanity defense is used, Leyton said prosecutors and defense attorneys will present expert witnesses to prove their case.

"The jury has to decide what expert it will believe," Leyton said.

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