Jarrod Miller won't mount an insanity defense in his upcoming trial on charges he shot his sister's boyfriend to death in their Alexander Valley home.
But the 29-year-old with a history of mental health issues could argue he was acting with "diminished capacity" in the March slaying of Timothy Neuer, also 29.
On Friday, District Attorney Jill Ravitch, who is handling the case with another prosecutor, asked Judge Ken Gnoss to appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate Miller before his Jan. 27 trial.
Miller, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, recently withdrew his plea following examinations by two doctors. Their findings were not disclosed.
Ravitch told Gnoss she wanted a third opinion "in an abundance of caution" after Miller's lawyer submitted a trial witness list that included two mental health experts.
"That's a very well-reasoned position the DA has taken with that point," Gnoss said from the bench in granting the request and appointing forensic psychiatrist Emily Keram.
Whether the trial actually begins on schedule was unclear. Miller's lawyer, Joe Bisbiglia, filed papers Friday including a motion to suppress evidence from a search.
Bisbiglia had previously alleged prosecutorial misconduct over a jailhouse visit between Miller and his brother that was secretly recorded by detectives with the Sheriff's Office.
Another judge, Arthur Wick, found the claim was without merit.
Miller has been in jail since the March 8 slaying, when Neuer was shot in the living room of the home he shared with Miller's sister.
The couple had recently kicked Miller out of the home, which he had been sharing with them.
Witnesses in a preliminary hearing said Neuer was getting a haircut in his bathroom by another man when Miller arrived and demanded to see Neuer.
When Neuer emerged and told him to leave, Miller allegedly pulled a gun and shot him twice before stepping forward and firing a third bullet into his head.
Miller's sister, who also was present, tried to block him but he pushed her aside, witnesses said.
Prosecutors have not said whether the killing was connected to the hundreds of marijuana plants growing outside the home.
Family members have said Miller, who grew up in Rio Nido, suffered mental problems. His mother, Barbi Evans, said a car crash at 17 followed by the death of a beloved uncle sent him into a tailspin.
Evans said she sought help for her son from county agencies and her health care provider.
When Miller returned to Sonoma County from Las Vegas in 2010, his sister and her boyfriend gave him a place to live for a few months. He moved to Cloverdale just before the slaying.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.