UPDATE: Civil commitment ordered for son accused of murdering father

·2 min read

Jun. 14—MANKATO — The rural Mankato man accused of murdering his father in April will be transferred to a state mental health facility once a bed becomes available.

Blue Earth County District Court Chief Judge Gregory Anderson ordered Travis Ryan Earle, 24, to be civilly committed Tuesday after a court-appointed examiner determined he was incompetent to stand trial.

Earle will remain in custody at Blue Earth County's jail until a spot opens up at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

Civil commitments can be ordered when the court finds a defendant poses a clear threat to others due to mental illness.

Travis Earle faced second-degree murder charges after being accused of stabbing his father, Steven Earle, 59, multiple times at their home April 27. The father later died during surgery.

In May, an examiner wrote that Earle "clearly has a very marked thought disorder at this time" and "appear(s) to be struggling with an emerging schizophrenia-spectrum disorder."

During Tuesday's virtual hearing, Earle asked if the court knew how long it would be before he's transferred to the mental health facility. Anderson responded by saying the timeline was unclear, but Earle would be prioritized when a spot becomes available.

Earle's commitment hearing came after an early May court ruling ordering him to undergo a Rule 20 competency evaluation, used to determine a defendant's competency to stand trial.

The court received Earle's Rule 20 examination report May 17, followed by him being found to be incompetent for trial on May 31.

While going over the court's Tuesday ruling to civilly commit Earle, Anderson cited the following factors:

—Earle has a mental illness as determined by the examiner.

—Earle has little insight into or awareness of his mental illness.

—Earle poses a threat to others.

—There were no reasonable alternatives to civil commitment.

Earle and his father lived together at 208 Eleanor St. just outside Mankato's city limits in South Bend Township. The father called 911 on April 27 to report his son had a knife and had beaten him up before.

First responders arrived to find Earle waiting in the yard, while the father was inside bleeding from multiple wounds on his torso. The father died that evening after being transported to a Rochester hospital.

Earle told detectives the dispute started over a canceled cable subscription.

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