NewsCovering California


Suspect in trail stabbing found mentally unfit for trial

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 18:04:59-05

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — The suspect in the stabbing death of a man on a Southern California bike trail three years ago has been found mentally unfit to stand trial, according to court documents.

A judge ordered that Dennis Thomas Monson Jr., 41, be committed to a state hospital for mental health treatment, the Orange County Register reported Monday.

The judge’s ruling essentially places Monson's murder case on hold until it is determined he is able to understand the charges he is facing and assist with his own defense, the newspaper said.

Sidney Siemensma was found bleeding on the San Diego Creek Trail in Irvine on Jan. 19, 2016. The 51-year-old avid bicyclist later died.

Monson, who was described by police as a transient, was quickly arrested, initially on charges of alleged child-porn possession after officers searched his cell phone. Monson was eventually charged with murder in connection to Siemensma’s death.

Authorities did not specify a motive for the stabbing.

According to testimony from investigating officers during a preliminary hearing, Monson had acknowledged talking to Siemensma the night of his death.

At the close of the preliminary hearing, a judge ruled that there was enough evidence for Monson to stand trial for the murder charge. The proceedings were put on hold last September, after Monson’s attorney raised questions about his mental competency.