GARNER — A second competency evaluation has been ordered for a Titonka man accused of murdering a Ventura woman in Britt last March.

57-year-old Monte Eckels was charged with first-degree murder after being accused of fatally stabbing Leallen Bergman while inside a residence at 275 4th Street Southeast in Britt on the night of March 4th.

Prior to his arraignment in April, his attorney stated that after meeting with him several times that Eckels had exhibited signs of a mental health disorder that would prevent him from appreciating the charge and understanding proceedings. Eckels at that time was ruled to be competent.

His attorney in late January filed a motion for another competency evaluation, stating that Eckels was sleeping in jail over 20 hours a day and that damage to his brain from previous trauma has caused concerns regarding potential further competency issues.

District Judge DeDra Schroeder on Tuesday issued an order for a new evaluation, saying there is probable cause that Eckels is suffering from a mental disorder which may impact his ability to be tried. Eckels was ordered to be evaluated by the state psychiatrist at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. 

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