Vehicular homicide case on hold

Local News

A 21-year-old Winnebago man facing a vehicular homicide charge is mentally unable to proceed in his criminal case.

According to Faribault County District Court records, a second competency evaluation ordered by Judge Troy Timmerman was completed in late July.

Results of the examination led to Jeffrey Gordon Gunzenhauser being deemed incompetent during a court hearing held Monday. As a result, the case has been suspended for now.

Gunzenhauser was drunk when he drove in the wrong lane, according to court records, and struck a minivan driven by 76-year-old Harold Elvin Renkly of Blue Earth.

The head-on crash occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 31, 2020, south of Winnebago on Highway 169.

Renkly died at the scene of the crash and a passenger in his vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries, while Gunzenhauser was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.

Gunzenhauser faces felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation, and gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation.

Last December, Gunzenhauser’s attorney file a request for a competency evaluation and a court-ordered examiner’s report in April concluded that Gunzenhauser is not competent to continue due to cognitive impairment.

Prosecutors challenged the findings to Timmerman, arguing that Gunzenhauser did not exhibit delusional or bizarre behaviors commonly associated with incompetency and demonstrated awareness of the court proceedings.

While the examiner did require more time to complete an interview with Gunzenhauser, prosecutors argued, it merely indicated his attorney might require extra time with him to prepare for trial.

Timmerman ordered another evaluation, saying, “The court continues to have doubts as to the defendant’s competency or incompetency.”

In the second evaluation, Timmerman also wanted to know that if Gunzenhauser is found to be incompetent would he have to be institutionalized. Or, could he be treated to attain and retain competency and how long would that take.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *