Suspect’s competency to be re-evaluated years after alleged rape, murder of 6 year old

Posted at 7:22 PM, Oct 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-22 23:17:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawyers from both sides made their arguments Thursday afternoon on how to move forward with the case of a man accused of raping and killing a 6-year old girl.

After three years, there is still no closure for Sierra Newbold's family.

The man accused in the 6-year-old girl's horrific death is nowhere close to trial.

"They're very frustrated, and they'd certainly like this thing to get over," Prosecutor Robert Stott said.

The case has been carrying on since June of 2012, when police said then-41-year old Terry Black went into Newbold's home, kidnapped her, and then raped the little girl and dumped her body in a canal.

Black's defense lawyer, McCaye Christianson, claims the man is incompetent and can't stand trial.

Doctors backed that claim up in a mental evaluation report back in April of 2014.

But Stott said during Thursday's court hearing that the report is now too old, and Black's mental state could have changed in that time.

"The doctors need to interview him once more, and do another report to determine the present competency," he said.

Judge Douglas Hogan agreed, and ordered an update to the evaluation. A doctor is set to do that in early November.

After the hearing, Stott met with Sierra's mother, Kathy Newbold, in a private conference room.

She emerged a few minutes later, emotional. A group that works against child abuse shielded her as she made her way down the hallway alone.

Stott knows just how crucial the update could be for the Newbolds as they seek justice.

"If he's found incompetent, then we're not going to be able to proceed on anything," Stott said.

He said Black would wind up in the state hospital for therapy, and be re-evaluated after six months.

If not, they can continue to move ahead with the case in court.