Bing Colvin, the court-appointed attorney for Kenneth Osburn, filed a motion Friday requesting a mental examination for his client.
Osburn, a 46-year-old Desha County man, is charged with capital murder and kidnapping in connection with the Aug. 27, 2006 strangulation death of 17-year-old Casey Crowder. Osburn has pleaded not guilty.
“In order to determine the level of intellectual function and whether (Osburn) suffers from any mental diseases or disorder that may affect his ability to stand trial, or be used as mitigating circumstances in any punishment phase that may arise, the court should order a forensics mental mental evaluation to be performed by the staff of the Arkansas State Hospital,” Colvin wrote in his Oct. 13, 2006 motion for a mental exam.
Colvin could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment but 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen said such motions are routine in death penalty cases.
Deen said he will not object to Colvin’s motion. “He (Osburn) is entitled to a mental evaluation as he faces a possible death sentence,” Deen said.
Crowder’s body was found on Sept. 2 in a remote area in eastern Desha County, six days after she disappeared.
Police have said Crowder was driving back to Pine Bluff from her boyfriend’s home in Pickens, a farming community just south of Dumas, when her vehicle ran out of gas on U.S. 65 at Dumas.
Osburn’s arrest was based on what Deen referred to as “cumulative evidence.” Deen said video-surveillance tapes provided by several businesses along U. S. 65 where Crowder was reportedly abducted were helpful, as was information gained through interviews.
“Certain published reports about DNA results are premature because the analysis has not been completed,” Deen said.
He said his office is consulting with an out-of-state lab to conduct DNA analysis on certain animal hairs submitted in the case because the Arkansas Crime Lab does not perform mitochondrial DNA testing on animal hairs.
Those tests have not been completed, he said.