Brandon Theesfeld’s attorney talks about what’s next after ‘not guilty’ plea

Updated: Oct. 1, 2019 at 7:05 PM CDT
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OXFORD, Miss. (WLBT) - On Monday, Brandon Theesfeld’s attorney entered a plea of “not guilty” in the brutal shooting death of Ally Kostial.

Roughly a month ago, and a week before his indictment, his attorneys Steve and Tony Farese called for a mental evaluation to establish competency and sanity, causing discussion of whether that means they’re going to angle for the “not guilty by reason of insanity” defense.

But there still hasn’t been an evaluation, so that question might not yet have an answer.

Tony Farese said the mental hospital needs all the discovery from the state before they can evaluate a patient, so the evaluation currently awaits the process.

“There were a lot of forensic exams in this particular case and it’s my understanding from the DA’s office that that’s what they’re waiting on before they send those required documents to the state hospital,” Farese said.

We spoke with legal expert John Reeves about the process -- What does it take to find a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity?

“The standard is did he know right from wrong whenever he did whatever he’s accused of doing, that’s the standard," Reeves said. "Or does he know right from wrong at the time of the trial?”

Does it look to the attorneys like insanity is a good defense at this point?

“Right now for us, everything’s on the table at this point,” Farese said.

Farese said both sides of the case are working to expedite this process, but reiterated that there are two families involved in this case that never asked to be.

“The victim’s family and the defendant’s family are being treated with respect on all sides. This is what our criminal justice system is about and the rule of law mandates an orderly proceeding and we ask that everyone keep an open mind and let this play out in a court of law.”

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