Kamloops judge pauses murder hearing, orders accused killer to undergo psychiatric assessment

Is accused killer fit for trial?

The court hearing of a Kamloops man accused of stabbing one man to death and attempting to kill three others inside a North Shore apartment last year has been paused so the accused can undergo a psychological assessment.

On Monday, a judge ordered Michael Wayne Palmer undergo an in-custody fitness assessment. The order came in the middle of Palmer’s preliminary inquiry, at which he is representing himself.

Palmer, 44, is facing one count of second-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder stemming from a March 28, 2020, incident inside an apartment in the 200-block of Carson Crescent.

Josh Rene Kevin White, 59, was killed and three other men suffered stab wounds. Palmer was arrested a short time later and has been in custody since.

Details of the evidence presented at Palmer’s preliminary inquiry are protected by a court-ordered ban on publication. When the hearing was paused, there were about four days of evidence remaining.

Preliminary inquiries are hearings in provincial court at which the Crown typically presents a bare-bones version of its case to convince a judge there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in B.C. Supreme Court.

Palmer is slated to return to court on March 1, at which time an update on his assessment is expected to be presented.

In addition to the murder and attempted murder charges, Palmer is accused of assaulting a corrections officer at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre while in custody last summer. He is also slated to return to court on that matter on March 1.

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