KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A judge deemed David Jungerman, who is on trial for the murder of a Kansas City attorney, competent to stand trial.
The trial had already began, but was delayed due to concerns Jungerman may have been exposed to COVID-19.
During the delay, the defense also raised concerns about Jungerman's mental competence.
On Sunday, a forensics psychologist hired by the defense, diagnosed Jungerman with "an unspecified neurocognitive disorder."
The expert witness testified Jungerman performed poorly during her assessment.
"There was something going on neurologically with him," the witness said.
However, a state neuropsychologist determined Jungerman is competent enough to proceed.
Tim Dollar, who is prosecuting the case, said Jungerman acted competently when he declined to be tested for COVID-19 on Friday.
Dollar said it was noted in Jungerman's medical file that Jungerman stated he didn't want to be tested for COVID because it could expedite his trail.
"That's a strategic decision either way you look at it," Dollar said. "At the same time, these lawyers are saying he's cognitively impaired, he's made strategic decisions about this case."
The judge agreed with the state’s assessment and called into question Jungerman's prior behavior in the case.
"There is reason to be skeptical from my perspective about the defendants motives," the judge said. "There's a history of this."
Jungerman is on trial for the death of Tom Pickert in 2017.
Pickert, who worked at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger, was shot dead in the front yard of his Brookside home in Oct. 2017.
He was shot once by a .17 caliber round, which is relatively rare, according to the prosecutor's office.
Days before Pickert's death, Jungerman lost a civil judgment totaling $5.75 million.
Pickert worked on the case.
Jungerman was initially questioned after Pickert's homicide outside his Brookside home but was not deemed a suspect.
However, a search warrant was obtained for Jungerman's car, house and business in March 2018.
During the search, police found an unspent .17 caliber bullet under the passenger seat of Jungerman's vehicle, a white van.
In addition, his white van also matched witnesses' description of a vehicle traveling around Raytown to Pickert's neighborhood.
A man walking his dog nearby said he saw an older white man with gray hair standing behind a white van, which was parked directly across from Pickert's house.
Jungerman told media outlets that no one used his van that day, and that he was the only one who had a key.
While searching his home and business, police found a print out from the Jackson County property tax database that showed Pickert's home address at his business.
Police also obtained audio recording in which Jungerman talked with an employee about a .17 caliber rifle and killing Pickert.
Jungerman was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges in Pickert’s death in April 2018.
The trial will continue Wednesday morning.