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Man accused of burglary, assault to receive competency evaluation

A Duluth man accused of burglaries and assault in St. Louis and Carlton counties will receive another competency evaluation, months after getting rehabilitation treatment at a state hospital.

Scott Eric Obrecht, 37, was admitted to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter in February after he was found incompetent to stand trial in Carlton County. He has since completed treatment and is scheduled to stand trial next month.

Now, he will undergo an evaluation in his St. Louis County case. Judge Eric Hylden on Wednesday ordered a psychologist to determine whether Obrecht is competent to participate in the proceedings and whether he understood his actions at the time of the alleged offenses.

Authorities say Obrecht burglarized two homes on Oct. 17. He first went to a home on Morris Thomas Road, stealing a shotgun and assaulting the homeowner with the butt of a gun, according to the St. Louis County charges. He then went to a Mahtowa Township home, where he entered a garage and assaulted a homeowner with an ax handle, according to a Carlton County criminal complaint.

Obrecht is charged in St. Louis County with two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of theft of firearms. In Carlton County, he faces second-degree assault and second-degree burglary charges. All are felonies.

Judge Robert Macaulay, handling the Carlton County case, ordered a competency evaluation for Obrecht in October. Following the recommendations of a psychologist, Macaulay ruled that Obrecht was incompetent to stand trial.

Obrecht received treatment at the St. Peter facility from Feb. 18 to March 31, according to court documents. He then was transferred back to Carlton County, where court proceedings continued.

Obrecht pleaded not guilty to the Carlton County charges in April. Macaulay denied a motion filed by defense attorney Kevin Cornwell to conduct a second competency evaluation, and scheduled a jury trial for July 8. Cornwell notified the court that he intends to argue a two-pronged defense: not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness.

During an appearance in St. Louis County on Wednesday, Hylden lowered Obrecht’s bail from $100,000 to $50,000. Obrecht has not yet entered a plea as he awaits his new competency evaluation, and no further court dates are scheduled.

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