Tarwacki murder suspect found fit to stand trialPublished 10:20am Thursday, December 27, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — A Niles man is mentally fit to stand trial for the 2010 murder of Niles couple John and Carolyn Tarwacki ruled Cass County District Court Judge Stacey Rentfrow Thursday.
Next up for the accused, Keith James Lintz, 28, is a preliminary examination Jan. 22. At that time, the court will determine if there is enough evidence against Lintz to warrant a trial.
Lintz was arrested in October and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for killing the Tarwackis, who were found brutally murdered in their home in the 900 block of Carberry Rd. in Niles on Feb. 5, 2010.
Police and prosecutors have yet to discuss a possible motive for the crime, although that could come out during the preliminary examination, which is expected to take one full day.
In November, Rentfrow ordered Lintz to undergo a competency exam at the request of defense attorney Gregory Feldman, who at the time said Lintz suffered from black outs and psychological problems.
An exam by the Department of Community Health Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti found Lintz to be mentally competent to stand trial. The report was submitted to the court Dec. 18.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz and Feldman both registered no objections to the report.
Rentfrow ruled Lintz fit to stand trial based on the report.
Multiple witnesses are expected to testify in the preliminary examination Jan. 22, according to Fitz.
The Tarwackis were found stabbed and shot multiple times.
If convicted, Lintz faces mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole.