Death penalty trial postponed until 2021 for Boise mass stabbing suspect Timmy Kinner
Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — After at least nine months of working to restore a 31-year-old suspect’s mental competency, attorneys have requested more time to prepare for his trial in the mass stabbing of nine people last year that left a 3-year-old Boise girl dead.
Timmy Earl Kinner Jr., who appeared in court Wednesday, is charged with fatally stabbing Ruya Kadir and wounding eight other people at or near the child’s birthday party on June 30, 2018, at a Boise apartment complex.
Ada County prosecutors have said they plan to pursue the death penalty against Kinner, who is charged with first-degree murder and 12 other felonies connected to the attacks. His trial was initially set for January 2020, but he was declared competent just this month, and attorneys need more time to ready their cases.
The defense argued that they have 21,000 pages of discovery to review and didn’t have the opportunity to work with Kinner when he was being restored to competency. Because of that, the defense argued that they couldn’t be prepared by January and asked for a trial date sometime in late 2021.
Prosecutors asked for a trial date in September.
Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin landed in the middle and said she would chose a date in “early 2021.” Kinner has waived his right to a speedy trial, and a final date will not be set until after Judge Baskin reviews other motions in November.
Kinner was escorted into court Wednesday by four sheriff’s deputies, and walked into the fifth-floor courtroom with a broad smile as he greeted his three public defenders.
Baskin is the judge who determined Kinner to be fit for trial. In January, he was found to be “dangerously mentally ill” and needed to be restored to competency, which took most of the year. To be determined competent, a defendant must be able to assist in his own defense, understand proceedings and communicate with his attorneys.
Baskin rearraigned Kinner in court Wednesday, reading his charges out loud, and again informed him of his rights. She also notified him again that the state is pursuing the death penalty.
Kinner responded softly with “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am” when the judge asked questions about the charges and his rights. Baskin also questioned Kinner to make sure he understood what the maximum punishment for his charges could be, and Kinner said he understood.
The hearing was the first public court appearance Kinner has made in months, as all of his competency hearings were sealed from the public. Wearing a yellow Ada County Jail uniform, Kinner appeared heavier than he was at the time of his arrest in 2018, his previously long hair had been cut short and he’d grown a full beard.
Attorney David Smethers told the court that he and his colleagues were prepared to provide Kinner with a defense, but that they still did not agree with Baskin’s decision on competency.
“We are not agreeing that he is competent at this time,” Smethers said in court.
Part of Wednesday’s hearing was closed to the public. When the judge reopened the courtroom, she heard the defense and prosecution make further statements about how long the case should be postponed. The defense said that it believes jury selection alone could take at least three months, and the death penalty trial is expected to take at least eight weeks.
Kinner remains in custody at the Ada County Jail without bail.