Sem found incompetent to stand trial

The Fairfield Ledger/July 19, 2004
By Erik Gable

Shuvender Sem, the former Maharishi University of Management student charged in the March 1 stabbing death of fellow student Levi Butler, is mentally ill and not competent to stand trial, attorneys on both sides of the case agreed.

According to documents filed today in Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Sem was evaluated by two experts -- one chosen by the defense and one chosen by the state -- and both determined he was incompetent to stand trial.

The agreement was filed jointly by defense attorneys Alfredo Parrish and Tammy Westhoff-Gentry and prosecutors Tim Dille and Virginia Barchman.

"The parties agree that the defendant is suffering from a mental disorder which prevents the defendant from appreciating the charge, understanding the proceedings, or assisting effectively in the defense," the document reads.

Both parties also agreed that Sem "poses a danger to [him]self or to the public."

Judge Dan F. Morrison signed an order committing Sem to the custody of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale, where he will be placed in a treatment program.

Dille said Sem will be kept at Oakdale until he is found to be competent, up to 18 months. If he is still at Oakdale in 18 months, a hearing will be held to determine whether he will remain there for treatment or be transferred to a state facility for the mentally impaired.

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