Man charged in deputy’s death deemed unfit for now

HELENA (AP) — A man charged in the shooting death of a Montana sheriff’s deputy last year is not fit to stand trial, but with medication he could be, doctors at the state psychiatric hospital said.

Prosecutors agreed with the evaluation and District Judge Kathy Seeley on Thursday found Lloyd Barrus was not able to help with his defense against a charge of accessory to deliberate homicide in the May 2017 death of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore.

Seeley ordered doctors at the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs to develop a treatment plan for Barrus, 62, which may include prescription medication.

The state exam found that Barrus has responded favorably to psychotropic medication in the past, but he has refused those medications, making him likely to remain unfit to stand trial.

If he continues to refuse to take prescribed medication, the hospital can seek a court order requiring him to take medication, Seeley wrote.

Barrus’ attorneys said he would likely object to such a requirement.

Prosecutors believe Barrus’ son, Marshall, killed Moore and that both men shot at other pursuing officers during a “suicide mission” along Interstate 90. Marshall Barrus was shot and killed by officers east of Missoula.

Lloyd Barrus also faces charges of attempted deliberate homicide and accessory to attempted deliberate homicide. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.