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Home / Legal News / Competency hearing delayed in Wausau beheading case (UPDATE)

Competency hearing delayed in Wausau beheading case (UPDATE)

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — A competency hearing for a Wausau man accused of killing and beheading a family friend was postponed this week because of a rare circumstance in which two doctors were unable to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial.

Kou Thao, 26, is charged in the April death of Tong Pao Hang, a 58-year-old man from St. Paul, Minn. Prosecutors say Thao shot Hang between the eyes and cut off his head.

During a competency hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Steven Kohn said a pair of forensic doctors with the state examined Thao and “neither doctor is able to render an opinion” as to whether Thao is mentally fit, Daily Herald Media reported.

Attorneys didn’t say why doctors were unable to reach a conclusion, and Judge Mike Moran said the circumstance was uncommon.

“It is unusual to have a lack of opinion on the issue of competency,” Moran said. “Usually there is a clear indicator one way or the other.”

The judge ordered that Thao be taken to a mental institution for further evaluation.

Thao, who remains jailed on a $1 million cash bond, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Thao’s brother-in-law, Yeh Lor, told investigators he was smoking outside a home while Thao and Hang were drinking in the basement. Lor said he heard what sounded like a single gunshot come from the basement, and when he went to investigate he saw the victim lying on the ground in a pool of blood.

The two men wrapped the body in a tarp and loaded it into a car, according to the criminal complaint. Lor told authorities he assisted Thao because he thought Thao might have a gun.

Officers tracked Thao down a few days later at a Milwaukee home. When they executed a search warrant on the car and home, they found a bucket in the trunk containing Hang’s severed head, with a gunshot wound between the eyes.

Information from: Wausau Daily Herald Media, http://www.wausaudailyherald.com

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