A 3rd District judge sent Eugene N. Woodland - also known as Captain Nemo - to the Utah State Hospital Monday despite Woodland's protests that doing so would be like "a horror story."
Judge Leonard Russon ruled that Woodland was mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial for the shooting death of Bruce Larson, 40, that occurred on March 28. The judge also authorized the state hospital to administer medication as part of a treatment program."Once he has become competent, then he should return to this District Court (for trial)," Russon said.
But Woodland said he did not want to be locked away in a mental hospital because he said he would never get a chance to stand trial and prove he's not guilty in the slaying.
"I don't want to be medicated and put into those hospitals. . . . It's chemical lobotomy. That's what it is," he told the judge.
"To bury me in a place and not give me a chance to stand trial. . . . If I'm insane, then the whole world's lost."
Woodland, known as Captain Nemo because he sometimes acted and dressed like the character from the Jules Verne novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," is charged with second-degree murder. He was arrested shortly after Larson was shot numerous times at a construction site at 4050 S. 900 East.
The shooting occurred in a building he had once planned to turn into Captain Nemo's Dinner Theater Atlantis and Fitness Center. Larson's development firm had gained ownership of it after Woodland ran into financial problems. Larson was apparently talking to people interested in taking over its operations when Woodland showed up.
Witnesses said Woodland walked up to Larson and demanded to know what he was doing with the building. Larson was shot five times and died later at a hospital. Woodland was also charged with aggravated assault in connection with injuries sustained by Glen Fisk, 27, who was shot in the hand during the incident.
Psychiatrists evaluated Woodland last summer and found him sane. But deputy Salt Lake County attorney Tom Vuyk said Woodland's condition deteriorated. Two other psychiatrists recently evaluated him and suggested he be sent to the mental hospital.
Defense attorney James Bradshaw did not contest the psychiatrists' findings.
"He doesn't understand what the charges are and how serious they are and what could occur to him," Vuyk said.
Woodland will appear before the court in six months and every six months thereafter until he is ruled competent to stand trial. Vuyk said that with the help of the medication the judge ordered the hospital to administer to Woodland, he fully expects that the trial will eventually be held.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it happens six months from now," he said.