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Case against 96-year-old murder suspect dismissed due to incompetency

Okey Payne was charged with the murder of Ricardo Medina-Rojas last year at a Lafayette assisted living facility.

BOULDER, Colo. — A Boulder County District Court judge on Wednesday dismissed the murder case against a 96-year-old man accused in a shooting at an assisted living facility in Lafayette.

Okey Payne was accused of fatally shooting Ricardo Medina-Rojas, the maintenance director at Legacy at Lafayette Assisted Living on Feb. 3, 2021.

Defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying Payne was never likely to be restored to competency to stand trial, and the Boulder County District Attorney's Office did not oppose the motion.

Two doctors who examined Payne said he suffered from delusions related to a neurocognitive disorder. "Such disorders are usually irreversible and progressive," according to a prosecution filing in the case.

Payne will remain in a secured facility at the state hospital in Pueblo, where he has received treatment since July.

> Video above: Details emerge in shooting at Lafayette assisted living facility, aired Feb. 4, 2021.

RELATED: 95-year-old shooting suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial

"Okey Payne committed a brutal and unjustified murder of an innocent victim who was a loving father and husband," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in a statement. "Sadly, the victim’s family had believed this would be the outcome. They are striving to cherish the memories of Mr. Medina-Rojas.”

Officers with the Lafayette Police Department (LPD) responded to the assisted living facility on the morning of Feb. 3, 2021, for a report of a shooting.

RELATED: 95-year-old suspect in assisted living center shooting formally charged

Payne suffered from delusions that made him believe, falsely, that staff members at the assisted living facility were stealing from him, according to the prosecution filing.

On the day of the shooting, Payne took a loaded handgun into the lobby and waited for employees to arrive. When Medina-Rojas entered the building, Payne pointed the gun and fired once, killing him, the filing says.

Shortly after the shooting, Payne 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.

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