The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Township standoff defendant not competent to stand trial



Ironwood Township — The Ironwood Township man involved in a May standoff with police has been deemed not competent to stand trial and remanded to a psychiatric facility.

Gogebic County Circuit Judge Michael Pope ordered Leonard John Hellier, 48, committed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti Wednesday “in an effort to restore competency,” Gogebic County Prosecutor Nick Jacobs said.

“This effectively puts a time-out on any further prosecution of this case until/unless he regains competency following his in-patient treatments,” Jacobs told the Daily Globe. “The law gives us up to 15 months to see if he reaches competency to stand trial and if not, charges are to be dismissed.”

Hellier was examined by state officials, who reported Tuesday he wasn’t competent to stand trial on the five felony counts — two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent — he is facing in connection to the May 16 standoff at Hellier’s Vanderhagen Road property, north of Airport Road.

The roughly three-hour standoff began after Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a report of an alleged dispute between Hellier and a neighbor.

The neighbor accused Hellier of shooting in the direction of the neighbor’s property, according to a press release from Gogebic County Sheriff Pete Matonich. The release alleged he also fired in the direction of responding deputies with what was believed to be a pellet gun.

He refused to cooperate with the additional officers responding to the scene, the release said, and an officer used a Taser on him before Hellier retreated into his residence and barricaded himself inside.

Following the breakdown of negotiations, officers and members of the Gogebic Iron SWAT team breached the residence.

Inside, they were allegedly met by the suspect wielding a hatchet, the release said. He was taken into custody following a struggle. No major injuries were suffered in the standoff.


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