COQUILLE — A Coos County man who was charged with murdering his uncle three years ago will continue to be held at the Oregon State Hospital for mental health treatment after a judge ruled Thursday morning he is an “extremely dangerous” person.
Lucas Perkins, 39, was ordered by Coos County Circuit Court Judge Martin Stone to be committed to the state’s psychiatric hospital and placed in custody of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board for a maximum of 24 months.
Following Oregon law, Perkins was committed to the state hospital in 2016 as he was considered mentally unfit to withstand trial for murder.
With his hospital stay coming to an end last week, Coos County District Attorney Paul Fraiser presented evidence Thursday that showed Perkins is still unable to stand trial and that his mental health condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
As a result, he petitioned the court to order Perkins to return to the hospital under a civil commitment and moved forward with dismissing his murder charge.
In 2016, Perkins was charged with the murder of his uncle, 64-year-old Richard Perkins, who was found dead at his residence on Ross Inlet Road with substantial damage to his head.
As previously reported in The World, details from an affidavit filed against Lucas Perkins revealed that his uncle had on multiple occasions attempted to get his nephew mental health treatment.
At the time of his initial hearings, the court determined Perkins was not able to participate in a trial due to his mental condition as he proved he was unable to “aid and assist” in his own defense, Frasier said.
Perkins was ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment at the state hospital to better his condition and to become legally able participate in a trial. According to Frasier, the hospital can only keep patients for up to three years and last Friday marked the end of his court-ordered commitment.
With concerns of the public’s safety, Frasier filed a petition with the court to determine if Perkins is an "extremely dangerous person with a mental illness" in order to have him recommitted to the hospital.
At a hearing held Thursday at the Coos County Courthouse, Frasier presented evidence that showed Perkins’ mental disorder is one that is resistant to treatment and because of that caused the death of another person.
Frasier highlighted Perkins’ belief that “people are clones who he can kill with impunity.”
After hearing from the prosecution and defense attorneys as well as Perkins himself, who appeared via video conference, Judge Stone declared Perkins to be an extremely dangerous person by “clear and convincing evidence” under ORS 426.701.
“It’s our hope that as long as he is so mentally ill … that the (Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board) will keep him at the hospital,” said Frasier. “It’s my belief this can be renewed every two years for however long it takes.”
As part of “aid and assist” law, the court will dismiss Perkins' murder charge, which will likely happen in the next few days.
In addition to the hospital commitment, an agreement was also entered by the state and Perkins’ defense attorney that certain findings made by the court will not be admitted should a criminal trial take place in the future.
“The psychiatric security review board is required to give us 45 days’ notice before they were to release (Perkins) from their custody and discharge him if they were to find him not dangerous anymore,” said Frasier. “We can refile the murder charges and proceed with the case. There is no statute of limitations on murder.”