- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) - A man charged with kidnapping and killing a 6-year-old girl will be sent to the state mental hospital rather than stand trial in her death, a Utah judge ruled Tuesday.

Terry Lee Black, 44, was declared not mentally competent for trial, though Judge Douglas Hogan is expected to review that decision in about a year to see if psychiatric treatment has changed his condition.

The ruling was based on reports from court-appointed psychologists who said that Black has psychotic, cognitive and learning disorders that keep him from understanding what’s happening in court or helping his lawyers with his defense.

Prosecutor Robert Stott said that the family of the slain girl, Sierra Newbold, is frustrated that the case is on hold again after being tied up in appeals for nearly two years.

“They had to go through this horrible event of their 6-year-old daughter being abducted, being sexually assaulted and being murdered,” he said. “They want get to it over with. Why is the law taking such a long time?”

But Black’s lawyers have said that he needs to go to the Utah State Hospital right away, and his condition has gotten worse since he was first arrested more than three years ago.

Black is accused in the death of Sierra, who was kidnapped from her home in June 2012 and beaten, raped and choked before being thrown into a canal where she drowned.

Investigators said Black attended the same congregation as the Newbold family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his apartment was near the canal where she was found.

Police said they had home surveillance video of someone entering the Newbold house through a sliding glass door, and they linked Black to the crime by matching debris on his clothing to a fire-blackened field where Sierra’s clothing was found.

He has not yet entered a plea to charges of child kidnapping, child rape and aggravated murder, which carries the possibility of the death penalty. Prosecutors haven’t said if they would seek capital punishment.

The case was on hold for nearly two years as his lawyers claimed the judge was biased and appealed to the Utah Supreme Court. The high court ruled in July that the issue is moot because Judge Mark Kouris had already been transferred.

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