HELENA- A Lewis and Clark County judge ruled the suspect in the 2017 murder of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore may be forcibly medicated to stand trial.
In June 2018, Lloyd Barrus was found mentally unfit to stand trial. In December and January, Lewis and Clark Judge Kathy Seeley heard expert testimony in an effort by the state to allow doctors at the Montana State Hospital to forcibly medicate Barrus so he was fit to stand trial.
Authorities accuse Lloyd Barrus’ son Marshall of fatally shooting Moore during a pursuit near Three Forks on May 16, 2017.
Lloyd and Marshall Barrus then led law enforcement on a chase that ended near Missoula. Marshall Barrus was killed in a shootout with officers.
Lloyd Barrus was found unfit to stand trial in June of last year by the Montana State Hospital because of mental health disorders. Court records say he has so far refused treatment.
The order allowing the state to medicate Barrus points to a similar shootout and standoff involving Barrus in 2000 in California where he was initially found unfit to stand to trial. Court records say Barrus was involuntarily medicated and responded well enough to the point the case could proceed. He ultimately accepted a plea agreement and served prison time.
Seeley also found one of the expert witness testimony advocating for psychotherapy without medication is impractical. Court records state the “Defendant delusional thinking and communication are a barrier to forming a therapeutic alliance.” Documents add that Barrus has reportedly threatened staff at the Montana State Hospital and refused to participate in psychotherapy.
In medicating Barrus, doctors are required to follow all appropriate safety measures, monitor Barrus for potential side effects, and update the court on the status of the treatment and requests for changes to the treatment plan.
Barrus has been charged with five felonies, including deliberate homicide by accountability. If he is able to stand trial, he faces a maximum of sentence of life in prison.
Story by Eric Jochim, MTN News