OTTUMWA — The man authorities say killed Thomas Foster in May will not go on trial as previously scheduled after being found incompetent to stand trial.
Preston Martin faces a possible life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder, but the defense sought an evaluation of his competency earlier this fall. Under both the state and federal constitutions, defendants must be able to understand the charges and able to assist in their defense.
Martin’s attorney said in the filing requesting an evaluation that he was unable to do so. That filing said Martin could not have coherent conversations and made claims that were “simply not factual.” Because of that, Martin was not able to help his attorney prepare a defense.
Prosecutors did not object to the evaluation, though they reserved the right to have a second one conducted.
Monday’s ruling means Martin’s case is on hold. He will be treated at the Oakdale Medical and Classification Center.
The delay does not mean the end of the case. He still faces a charge of first-degree murder and will stand trial if the court determines treatment has restored his competency.