MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The man accused of using a golf club to fatally impale a Minneapolis grocery store employee has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge.
Judicial Officer Danielle Mercurio on Tuesday ruled on the mental competency evaluation of Taylor Justin Schulz, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Schulz, 44, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 66-year-old Robert Skafte on Dec. 8. Officers responded to Oak Grove Grocery and and found the victim behind the counter “with a golf club impaled through his torso,” police said at the time. Skafte died at a hospital.
Skafte was a clerk at the store for nearly two decades and also an acclaimed ballet dancer. Schulz lived in an apartment across the street. Court records show Schulz had been evicted a week before the killing and had previously assaulted other apartment residents.
Mercurio’s decision was based on the opinion of a psychological examiner. Schulz has a history of mental illness.
“We have no reason to dispute the examiner’s opinion,” Schulz’s public defender, Emmett Donnelly, said in a statement.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that state law now requires the county to review Schulz’s “history and circumstances before the County Attorney’s Office can move forward with civil commitment proceedings. Schulz will remain in custody at the Hennepin County jail as this process plays out.”
Schulz has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and self-reported post-traumatic stress disorder, according to court records. He has received treatment and services through Veterans Affairs in the past.
Schulz was civilly committed for six months in 2021, when a doctor found he was at “unacceptably high risk of further psychiatric deterioration unless strong support is given,” the newspaper reported, citing court documents.