116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A hearing to determine competency of a Cedar Rapids teen, who is accused of killing his parents with a knife and ax, is set for Friday in Linn County District Court.
Last month, lawyers for Ethan Alexander Orton, 17, charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder, asked a judge to suspend proceedings in the case until the teen could be evaluated by a state psychiatric doctors. Defense lawyers, in the motion, said they believed Orton has a mental impairment or disorder that would prevent him from understanding the charges against him and assisting in his defense.
Orton’s lawyers, Doug Davis and Madison Wiese, in the motion said their beliefs are based on in-person communications with Orton and information they have received. They also asked that Orton be evaluated to determine if he suffered from diminished capacity at the time of the killings.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Mike Harris did not resist the motion.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill, who ordered the evaluation last month, set the hearing for Friday after he received a written report from the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.
Thornhill will continue the hold on the case if Orton is found incompetent and send him back to the medical facility to restore his competence to stand trial. If Orton is found competent, the hold will be lifted and case proceedings will go forward.
According to Thornhill’s order, Orton will be required to be at the hearing.
Cedar Rapids police received a 911 call about 2:10 a.m. Oct. 14 regarding suspicious noises coming from the Orton house at 361 Carnaby Dr. NE, according to a criminal complaint.
Officers found Orton soaked in blood outside the home. The teen admitted to killing his parents, Casey Arthur Orton, 42, and Misty Scott-Slade, 41, who were found inside. He stabbed both parents. When he realized his mother was still alive, he used an ax, he told investigators.
Orton said he killed them “to take charge of his life,” according to the complaint.
Casey and Misty both worked for McGrath Auto, general manager Gavin McGrath told The Gazette in October. Casey had been a technician in the Chevyland department since 2018, and Misty started a few months before in the company’s business development center.
McGrath said the couple moved from the Salt Lake area of Utah to Cedar Rapids about 4 1/2 years ago.
The teen remains in jail under a $2 million cash-only bail. First-degree murder is a life sentence without parole, but because he is a juvenile, if convicted, he would have the opportunity for parole.
His trial was previously set for Feb. 8.
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