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Meiser to undergo evaluation for ability to stand trial


Murder suspect has been at state hospital since January

The suspect in a brutal murder in Lake Oswego is scheduled to undergo a mental health evaluation next week to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Erik John Meiser, 38, has been at the Oregon State Hospital since the beginning of January, after a judge ruled in December that he was unable to assist in his own defense because of mental illness. Two mental health professionals diagnosed him with delusional disorder, and he was committed to the hospital for up to three years.by: SUBMITTED - Meiser

On Monday, attorneys met before a judge for the first review of his treatment and to discuss a timeline for evaluating his progress.

Participating in the discussion by phone, Dr. Brian Daly, a psychiatrist at the state hospital, said doctors typically allow some time for treatment before evaluating a patient’s mental fitness.

Since arriving at the state hospital, Meiser has agreed to take medication and meets with Daly once or twice each week. Meiser also regularly meets with a psychologist and with a social worker, Daly said. Another psychiatrist, Dr. Christopher Lockey, is scheduled to evaluate Meiser on Monday.

Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Eve Miller said she was satisfied with the hospital’s efforts to treat Meiser and monitor his progress so he can eventually “proceed with this trial that is kind of hanging in the balance.”

Meiser is accused of killing Fritz Hayes, 57, a retired high-tech engineer and longtime Lake Oswego resident, on Sept. 17, 2012. He faces charges including six counts of aggravated murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count each of first- and second-degree burglary.

Meiser also has been accused in a knife assault that happened earlier in September in Utah, and he was investigated for a potential connection to a Washington state slaying that took place in July.

In December, psychologists working for both sides in the case found that Meiser exhibited delusional thinking and wasn’t competent to stand trial.

Psychologist Richard Hulteng said Meiser felt he was “being threatened and persecuted,” used the term “skullduggery” frequently and believed that people were speaking to him subversively. Hulteng said similar issues were evident in years’ worth of corrections records, police reports, counseling records and audio and video recordings from Meiser’s time in jail.

Meiser’s criminal history dates back to his youth. He told a psychologist that he once regularly used drugs such as heroin but had cut back in recent years, using mostly marijuana and occasionally drinking wine or beer.

While he was once a white supremacist, Meiser has reportedly renounced any neo-Nazi beliefs and modified related tattoos. He is married and has two children, a son and a daughter, in California.

It doesn’t appear he ever received medication or ongoing therapy while incarcerated, Hulteng said.

Defense psychologist Henry Miller said Meiser may have been ambivalent about receiving mental health treatment or taking medications because he didn’t believe he needed them.

Attorneys plan to meet with the judge on March 18 to discuss the results of Meiser’s evaluation. An April hearing has also been set to consider his ability to assist attorneys defending his case.