Michael Kirsch

PROVO — Attorneys for a man charged with aggravated murder who is accused of stabbing his father repeatedly with a kitchen knife asked for a competency evaluation Thursday. The motion was granted.

Authorities say Michael Kirsch, 31, got into an argument with his father June 15 in their Orem home and attacked him. Christopher Kirsch, an adjunct professor at Utah Valley State College, died from his wounds soon after arriving at Timpanogos Regional Hospital.

Kirsch also is charged with aggravated assault for an injury his mother suffered to her hand while trying to separate the two men.

Defense attorney Richard Gale said they already know Kirsch has schizophrenia, based on past diagnoses while in the court system for a previous crime.

"It more than likely has to do with his medication," Gale said. "When he's on his meds, he does well."

Gale said he believes Kirsch had been scheduled to see his doctor in June, but when he went to the office, the doctor was no longer working there, so Kirsch wasn't seen.

Kirsch recently had been released from the Utah State Prison after serving nearly two years for aggravated assault with a knife in 2005. He was released from prison in March 2007 and was still on parole.

In the earlier case, Kirsch had been declared incompetent to proceed. He was sent to the Utah State Hospital and was restored to competency, then sent to prison, where he continued to take medication, Gale said.

Kirsch's parents knew about his violent history but had opened their home to him because they were worried that he wasn't getting the right mental health treatment on his own, Orem police said.

The Kirsch family released a statement the day after the stabbing.

"There have been many victims as a result of this tragedy," they wrote. "Mental illness has robbed our family. We love our son and we know he loved us."


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