A 3rd District judge has ordered the formation of a five-member panel to evaluate and recommend options for the release of Brent Murphy from the mental hospital where he has been held for 31 years.

Murphy, 51, a former patient at the American Fork Training School, was committed to Utah State Hospital in 1957 after being found incompetent to stand trial for the rape of a 5-year-old girl.Earlier this year, the Utah Supreme Court ordered him released, saying his continued commitment was due to the lack of community resources to assist him.

The justices found that while Murphy possessed the mental capacity of a child, any abnormal behavior was the result of his retardation and his 30-year institutionalization, not mental illness.

The high court returned the case to 3rd District Court, which had in 1985 refused to grant Murphy's release, and instructed the court to make arrangements for his gradual return to society.

Third District Judge Pat B. Brian told the panel, comprised of people with expertise in the area of mental retardation, to make its recommendations on Nov. 15.