A man charged with first-degree murder for stabbing another man to death in November at a Stoughton home will undergo a competency evaluation after his lawyers said they had reason to doubt his ability to assist in his defense, a judge ruled Thursday.
Ted Bruno, 49, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for the stabbing death of Kim M. Gaida, 46, at Gaida’s home on Felland Street on Nov. 27. Since being charged, Bruno has appeared in court several times without a lawyer, after he was declined for representation by the state public defender.
Bruno, who has been in the Dane County Jail since his arrest, hasn’t yet had a preliminary hearing in the case while he’s tried to get a lawyer, telling a judge at one hearing that he was trying to sell some belongings to raise money.
He will return to court for a competency hearing on March 5.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn, Bruno’s lawyers, state Assistant Public Defenders Tracey Lencioni and Colleen Taylor, requested that Bruno be evaluated.
“Counsel believes that Mr. Bruno is not able to understand the proceedings and participate in his own defense,” they wrote. “This is based on recent interactions with Mr. Bruno at the Dane County Jail.”
Lencioni was appointed to Bruno’s case on Jan. 31. Bruno appeared in court with her Thursday, wheeled into court in a jail restraint chair.
A criminal complaint states that Bruno told police he began renting a room in Gaida’s home on Nov. 1. According to the complaint, Bruno told police that Gaida, in a fit of rage, stabbed him first in the kitchen. Bruno said he grabbed a knife and met Gaida near the front door where he used his left hand to pin Gaida’s right hand, which was holding the knife, against the wall. He then stabbed Gaida numerous times.
An autopsy showed that Gaida was stabbed seven times in the front of his body, three times in his back and once in his neck, where a broken knife was found in the wound. He died from a stab wound to the heart, the complaint states.