Dearborn County Law
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Accused in his roommate’s death, a Lawrenceburg man will not go to trial because a judge has determined he is unable to assist with his defense.
David Schwede, 47, was arrested November 9 after 50-year-old John Chenault was found dead in the apartment the two men shared at Tuscany Bay Apartments. Investigators believe Chenault had been dead for about two days before Schwede called 911 to report his roommate was unconscious, but still breathing.
Schwede, who was supposed to be Chenault’s caretaker, told detectives that he had killed him in a physical altercation. He was charged with Neglect of a Dependant, False Reporting, and Failure to Report a Dead Body.
In January, prosecutors declined to charge Schwede with murder after toxicology reports revealed no drugs were in Chenault’s system when he died.
At about the same time, Schwede’s attorney, Michael Hollenbeck, motioned for an insanity defense for a mental disease or defect. The motion was granted by Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James D. Humphrey on March 23.
Two court-appointed doctors evaluated Schwede and determined that he would not be able to help defend himself in a trial that was scheduled to begin Monday, April 2.
“The defendant presently does not have comprehension sufficient to understand the nature of this criminal action against him, and to make a defense thereto. Defendant is hereby found incompetent to stand trial at this time,” Humphrey wrote in a court order filed a week before the trial was to begin.
Humphrey committed Schwede to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction where he will enter into services to restore his competency. The FSSA will commit Schwede at the Logansport State Hospital.
The superintendent at the facility will report back to the court after 90 days to tell whether or not Schwede shows “substantial probability” of comprehending his court proceedings and defense.
If he makes progress, Schwede would stay with the division for as long as six months before being able to go to trial. If not, the FSSA would begin the process of committing Schwede long-term.
The Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department website shows that Schwede was still being held there as of Tuesday before he is transferred to Logansport.