Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Brooke Wilberger: Suspect found mentally competent

Once the trial in New Mexico is over, hopefully justice for Brooke will proceed!
Story from The Register Guard (Eugene, Oregon).
Photo of Brooke from The Charley Project.
Wilberger suspect must stand trial in New Mexico
The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE - A man accused of
murdering Brooke Wilberger in Oregon has been found competent to stand trial on
charges of raping a foreign exchange student at the University of New Mexico.
State District Judge Kenneth Martinez has set May 14 as the trial date for
Joel Patrick Courtney of Rio Rancho.
Courtney's attorney, John McCall,
argued during a competency hearing Friday that he cannot defend Courtney because
he refuses to talk to him about the case.
``The fact that he can't
communicate about the facts of his case or his desires with respect to a trial,
plea or anything else indicates that he is not acting in his best interest, one
of the key components of competency to proceed to trial,'' McCall said.
Prosecutor Theresa Watley said she believes that Courtney is competent but
``I think his actions in the last year, in this case, are
highly representative of his ability because the law allows it, to manipulate
this system,'' Watley said. ``He has had one goal, which is to delay this case,
and he has been incredibly successful.''
Courtney was arrested on Nov. 30,
2004, in Albuquerque after being accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting
the New Mexico student.
He was indicted on charges of first-degree sexual
criminal penetration, aggravated battery with great bodily harm and kidnapping.
The student told police she was threatened at knifepoint, forced into a car,
tied and gagged, and sexually assaulted. She was able to free herself and
In the Wilberger case, Courtney was indicted in July 2005 on 19
counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy. Wilberger, 19,
disappeared from Corvallis in May 2004, and her body has not been found.
Courtney is not expected to face charges in Oregon until the New Mexico case
is resolved.

But where is Brooke? Will Joel Courtney be a Rosendo Rodriguez and tell where she is, or will he be a Lindsay Bruce and wait for someone else to find her? Unfortunately, the latter seems more likely.
If you know anything about Brooke's whereabouts, please call the Corvallis Police Department at 1-877-367-2270 or (541)766-3522.

If you are not familiar with the details of this case, you can read more about it at the Charley Project (link above).

No comments: