Request for Competency Exam Denied
Aki Dillard, the 39-year-old man Saginaw man who is facing charges for the abuse and death of his legally adopted son, Elijah Dillard, has been denied a mental competency exam by the judge.
Dillard is facing charges of first-degree premeditated murder or, in the alternative, first-degree felony murder. Additionally, he is also facing charges of first-degree child abuse and torture. All of these charges are very serious felonies. The two murder charges carry mandatory penalties of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both the child abuse charge and the torture charge carry penalties of up to life in prison.
On Tuesday, May 20, Dillard’s attorney William White raised the issue in court that Dillard was insisting on a mental competency exam. He told the judge that Dillard has a life-long learning disability and was abused as a child. According to White, Dillard’s claims appeared to be valid and “he may not understand the nature of the charges against him or be able to assist counsel in his own defense.”
White filed a motion requesting that Saginaw County Chief Circuit Judge Fred L. Borchard approve the exam. In addition, White also filed motions requesting that records of Dillard’s criminal history in Illinois be suppressed, along with any records from the Illinois equivalent to Michigan’s CPS. He also requested a change of venue based on media coverage of these Saginaw child abuse and murder charges.
On Monday, May 27, the judge denied the request for the mental competency exam, saying that the defense must show by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant is mentally incompetent and is therefore entitled to an examination.
“The court in this case is not convinced that there should be a competency evaluation, as the court does not believe the burden has been met in this case,” Borchard told the defendant and his lawyer. “For the time being, the court is going to deny that request and we will proceed to trial.”
With regards to the motion pertaining to the CPS investigation, the prosecutor told the judge that both Elijah and his sister, who is now 7-years-old, were removed from their parent’s home in Illinois. Dillard, however, claims that no children were ever removed from his care when he lived in Illinois. Much of the information provided by the Illinois CPS is currently being used by authorities in the parental termination case against Dillard and his wife, Mio Campbell.
Because the prosecutor said that he only intended to introduce the Illinois CPS case as an explanation of why the two older children were not living with Dillard and Campbell when they moved to Michigan, White was willing to withdraw the motion.
Both Dillard and Campbell are both currently jailed and are scheduled for trial on July 1st.