Mother questions convicted Cape Coral murderer’s mental health

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The mother of a Cape Coral man found guilty of murdering and dismembering his father maintains her son suffers from mental illness even though he passed a competency evaluation before the trial.

Matthew Marshall, 33, was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the killing of his father, 58-year-old James Richard Marshall.

Parts of James Marshall’s body were found dismembered in a wooded area and canal in Cape Coral, but Matthew Marshall’s mother blamed herself in court after her son’s sentencing.

“He’s not a monster. We failed. I failed as a parent to get him the help he needed,” she said.

Paul Kling, a psychologist who has performed more than 2,000 mental health evaluations, said defendants with mental illnesses sometimes slip through the cracks.

“They end up in jail because there’s no default, no better place to put them,” Kling said.

Kling’s job is to ensure defendants understand their charges, possible penalties and the legal process ahead of their trials, he said. Defendants with mental illness can pass competency evaluations, but whether they are competent enough to stand trial is ultimately a judge’s decision, said Kling, who didn’t evaluate Matthew Marshall.

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