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Case against 95-year-old assisted living center shooting suspect on hold due to mental competency concerns

Attorneys requested an evaluation for Okey Payne, who is accused of killing a maintenance worker at the Lafayette center where he lived in February.

BOULDER, Colo. — Court proceedings against a 95-year-old man charged with killing a maintenance worker at the assisted living center where he lived have been on hold while he undergoes a mental health evaluation to determine if he's competent to stand trial.

Court records show that attorneys filed a motion on April 26 to have Okey Payne’s competency evaluated. On May 5, a judge ordered a mental health stay in the case, which means proceedings are on hold.

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Officers with the Lafayette Police Department (LPD) responded to the Legacy Assisted Living Facility at Lafayette around 7 a.m. on Feb. 3 for a report of a shooting. They arrived and found the victim, identified as Richardo Medina-Rojas, who had been shot in the head. He died later that day, according to police. Payne is also accused of threatening two people who came to aid the victim.

Shortly after the shooting, he was arrested in his room at the facility.

According to the facility, Medina-Rojas was the maintenance director and had worked there for eight years. They also said he was "truly beloved" by both residents and staff.

Payne had lived at the assisted living center since October 2019. According to an arrest affidavit, Payne told investigators that staff at the center had been stealing from him since that time. He said that an old manager was fired for the theft, according to the affidavit, but that the theft continued afterward.

The theft allegations were investigated by LPD and Adult Protective Services and were "unsubstantiated," the affidavit says.

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If Payne is found incompetent, proceedings would continue to be delayed until he can be restored to competency or the judge rules that he is unlikely to ever be able to stand trial.

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