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Reports: Lawyer says Bartlett man charged with homicide incompetent to assist in own defense

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 1:47 a.m. CDT

BARTLETT – The ability of a Bartlett man charged with killing a woman to assist in his own defense is being called into question by his attorney, according to media reports.

Thomas E. Jahnke, 35, formerly of Black River Falls, Wis., is charged with felony homicide and causing injury by the intoxicated use of a vehicle, reports said.

His public defender, Bill Poss, said he suffered severe head injuries, is in assisted living and can't remember the incident to which the charges are related, according to reports.

Jahnke allegedly sped through a stop sign in December 2012 in Jackson County, Wis., slamming into another car, killing a passenger and injuring the driver, reports said.

His blood-alcohol content was 0.185 percent at the time of the incident, according to reports.

Poss said one psychologist deemed Jahnke competent to assist in his defense, while a neurologist disagreed, reports said.

The defense has been asked to seek a second opinion, a Jackson County official said, according to reports.

If Jahnke is found incompetent, the charge may be dismissed, but could be reinstated if his health improves, reports said.

Current charges carry a penalty of up to 22 ½ years in prison and a $125,000 fine, according to reports.

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