Kasson Man Plans Mental Illness Defense in Byron Murder Case
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Kasson man charged with the murder of a rural Byron man earlier this year has been ordered to undergo a psychological examination.
Olmsted County Judge Robert Birnbaum this week ordered the examination after the defense attorney for 32-year-old William Shillingford gave notice of his intent to assert a mental illness or cognitive impairment defense in the case. The order appoints an examiner for the evaluation who will have 45 days to complete and submit the "Rule 20" report to the Olmsted County Court Administrator.
Shillingford faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault in connection with the death of 70-year-old John Colbert. The criminal complaint says the victim died during an exchange of gunfire at his property on the east edge of Oxbow Park on the night of May 6th.
According to court documents, the deadly shooting was captured in video recordings from the outdoor security cameras installed on Colbert's property. The videos show Shillingford walking near a garage holding a handgun before Colbert and his son came outside through the front door of the family's home and headed in the direction of the detached garage. The recording also shows Shillingford as he "racked" the handgun and assumed a "shooting stance" as he aimed the weapon in the direction of the victim and fired multiple shots. Based on the video, the charges state that it appears Shillingford fired three shots from different shooting positions and then fled on foot.
The criminal complaint says Colbert's son told investigators that he saw a pickup pull into the driveway at the property and when he went outside to investigate he spotted a man hiding around the corner of the garage. The son then went back inside the home and informed his father before the two of them went to investigate with his father armed with a handgun. According to the son, his father managed to fire two shots at the gunmen after he had been shot. The pair then went back inside the home and his father collapsed.
The criminal charges indicate the first deputy to arrive at the scene found a pickup truck registered to Shillingford parked in the driveway and a heavy trail of blood leading into the home. The deputy then found Colbert on the floor with a gunshot wound to his right arm and another on the right side of his torso that might have been caused by the same gunshot. The deputy also observed "a significant quantity of blood from arterial bleeding." Despite efforts by law officers and emergency responders, Colbert was pronounced dead at the scene.