Ronan man to be involuntarily committed

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The entrance sign at Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs is pictured in this IR file photo.

Independent Record

A Ronan man is to be involuntarily committed to a state psychiatric facility after a Lake County District Court judge on Thursday dismissed his homicide charge in light of two evaluations that found him unfit to stand trial.

James Deaton, 78, was charged with the fatal shooting of 65-year-old Jim E. Lewis late last year. On Thursday, District Judge Kim Christopher dismissed the deliberate homicide charge and set Deaton on a course toward an involuntary commitment at the Montana State Hospital, where he has spent the last 90 days.

Deaton’s defense attorney, Britt Cotter, told the Missoulian on Thursday that Deaton was first found unfit to stand in his own defense by a clinical psychologist in Polson. The county prosecutor’s office then obtained a second opinion from psychologists at the state hospital, which Cotter said bolstered the first evaluation’s findings.

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