Judge Denies Competency Exam in Reservation Double-slaying

18-year-old Jesus Mendoza killed couple after they stopped to help him on the road

By Molly Priddy

BILLINGS — A federal judge has denied a request from prosecutors to conduct a competency exam on the teenage suspect in a double slaying on Montana’s Crow reservation.

Prosecutors had sought the exam to determine if 18-year-old Jesus Deniz Mendoza of Worland, Wyoming is fit to stand trial in the killings of Jason and Tana Shane.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters denied the exam request in an order issued Tuesday. The order was sealed by the court, making the judge’s rationale unknown.

Mendoza’s defense attorneys opposed the exam and said there was no indication he was incompetent. The defense reserved the right to ask for an exam in the future.

Authorities say Mendoza killed the Shanes and wounded their daughter in July, after they stopped to help him along a road near Pryor.

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