A Humboldt County Superior Court judge recently ruled that he will not be seeking a third psychiatric expert to evaluate accused murderer Gary Lee Bullock’s insanity plea, reasoning that he was only legally obligated to hire two. Gary Bullock will be standing trial for bludgeoning to death Friar Eric Freed at St. Bernard Catholic Church back on New Year’s Day, 2014. He also allegedly attempted to burn Freed’s body and blow up the rectory before stealing the victim’s car.
According to California state law, Bullock’s trial will be bifurcated as a result of his plea. This means that the first portion of the trial will have the jury determine whether or not he is guilty of the charged offenses. Then, if the jury returns a guilty verdict, it must follow Section 8 of the California State penal Code (known as the M’Naghten Rule) in order to determine whether Bullock was legally insane at the time of the accused act.
Bullock’s trial was delayed six times when the psychiatric evaluations were pushed back. Jury selection for Bullock’s case began last month.