Murder defendant’s mental illness deemed ‘contrived’


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



Prosecutors say Melvin Boothe killed Mckenzie Butler and then buried her body in Martin Luther King Park in Lima.

Prosecutors say Melvin Boothe killed Mckenzie Butler and then buried her body in Martin Luther King Park in Lima.


J Swygart | The Lima News

Melvin Boothe will stand trial for the 2020 murder of Mckenzie Butler after psychologists expressed the opinion that he is exhibiting nothing more than an “unsophisticated attempt to portray mental illness.” He plugged his ears throughout Tuesday’s competency hearing.

Melvin Boothe will stand trial for the 2020 murder of Mckenzie Butler after psychologists expressed the opinion that he is exhibiting nothing more than an “unsophisticated attempt to portray mental illness.” He plugged his ears throughout Tuesday’s competency hearing.


J Swygart | The Lima News

Melvin Boothe is pictured with his attorney, Zach Maisch, during a competency hearing Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.


J Swygart | The Lima News

LIMA — A Lima man has been deemed competent to stand trial for the murder of his one-time girlfriend, even though he currently refuses to talk with attorneys who are attempting to prepare a strategy for his defense.

Melvin Boothe IV, 30, was indicted in August 2020 on charges of aggravated murder, an unclassified felony, in the death of Mckenzie Butler, whose body was found in the summer of 2020 in Lima’s Martin Luther King Park. Boothe was also indicted on single counts of tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse and possessing criminal tools.

For the past several months, the issue of Boothe’s competency has dominated the case. Defense attorney Zachary Maisch in August filed a motion requesting the court require Boothe to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Maisch expressed the belief “that the defendant may have a mental illness or defect that makes him unable to fully comprehend the proceedings in court at this time and unable to assist in the preparation and defense of his case.”

Boothe was transported to the Forensic Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio in Dayton for that examination this summer but refused to cooperate with doctors, and the exam was deemed inconclusive. In December he was dispatched to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo for a similar evaluation.

Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines said during a competency hearing held Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court that the report of the psychologist who examined Boothe in Toledo states the opinion that the defendant is exhibiting “a feigned mental illness” and that his “contrived” display is little more than an “unsophisticated attempt to portray mental illness.”

Thines asked Judge Terri Kohlrieser to find Boothe competent and to set a date for his trial.

Maish and co-defense counsel Chima Ekeh each told the judge that Boothe has declined to speak with his attorneys.

“He’s not saying anything to us,” Ekeh said. “I’m not sure how he can help us with his defense.”

Kohlrieser said she appreciated the problems faced by the defense team but nonetheless said she believed Boothe was competent to stand trial.

Boothe, who appeared in court wearing leg shackles in addition to handcuffs, smiled at court personnel and members of the media but spent most of the hearing with his fingers in his ears.

Butler’s body was found June 13, 2020, at Martin Luther King Park, a short distance from the Eighth Street residence where prosecutors say Boothe and Butler lived together. Police discovered Butler’s body buried in the woods on the south side of the park.

Acting on a tip that Boothe might be linked to Butler’s disappearance, police obtained a warrant and searched the Eighth Street residence. They didn’t find Butler, but her belongings were there.

“There were muddy boots and shoes inside the residence,” Detective Brian Synder of the Lima Police Department said at the time. “There were receipts located that depicted shovels and a pick being bought at Walmart. There was also muddy bags, book bags. Copious amounts of cleaning solution inside the residence such as bleach, ammonia, and other cleaning supplies as well.”

Multiple pieces of evidence led police to Martin Luther King Park, a short walk from the Eighth Street residence. Using park trail cameras, police were able to see Boothe coming and going from the area.

A suitcase and Butler’s body were dug up at that site.

Prosecutors say Melvin Boothe killed Mckenzie Butler and then buried her body in Martin Luther King Park in Lima.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/01/web1_Boothe-1.jpgProsecutors say Melvin Boothe killed Mckenzie Butler and then buried her body in Martin Luther King Park in Lima. J Swygart | The Lima News
Melvin Boothe will stand trial for the 2020 murder of Mckenzie Butler after psychologists expressed the opinion that he is exhibiting nothing more than an “unsophisticated attempt to portray mental illness.” He plugged his ears throughout Tuesday’s competency hearing.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/01/web1_Boothe-2.jpgMelvin Boothe will stand trial for the 2020 murder of Mckenzie Butler after psychologists expressed the opinion that he is exhibiting nothing more than an “unsophisticated attempt to portray mental illness.” He plugged his ears throughout Tuesday’s competency hearing. J Swygart | The Lima News
Melvin Boothe is pictured with his attorney, Zach Maisch, during a competency hearing Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/01/web1_Boothe-3.jpgMelvin Boothe is pictured with his attorney, Zach Maisch, during a competency hearing Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court. J Swygart | The Lima News

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

Post navigation