By: Larissa Donovan, News Director on May 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm.
BEMIDJI—A Bemidji man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl was found competent to stand trial Wednesday, according a findings document filed by the Honorable Judge Shari R. Schlucter.
Jacob Kinn, age 32, was arrested June 22, 2016 after a five-year-old girl, missing for 26 hours from the scene of a house fire, was found on his family’s property. The girl was found taped inside a recreational vehicle, with her arms and legs bound.
According to a press release from Chief of Police Mike Mastin, the five-year-old was staying with her babysitter, 35-year-old Melissa Norby the night of June 21. Norby’s trailer on the 3900 block of Irvine Avenue was found fully engulfed in flames in the early morning hours of June 22.
Norby’s body was found underneath a mattress with her arms bound, but the girl’s was not. Norby’s death was determined to be the result of homicidal violence on August 7.
Search warrants filed in July and August determined that Norby and Kinn had a sexual relationship. Kinn admitted that the child was used to enhance his and Norby’s sexual experience for over a year and a half prior to the June incident. Text messages between Norby and Kinn revealed that the kidnapping was planned.
Kinn has neither been charged with Norby’s homicide, nor with the fire that destroyed her home.
According to the findings of fact filed Wednesday by Judge Schlucter, Kinn had attempted to “orchestrate his escape from custody” by means of a letter, delivered to Kinn’s mother by his defense attorneys in September. In the letter, a coded message when deciphered instructed Kinn’s mother to tape a hacksaw blade to the bottom of an outhouse on the family’s hunting property.
According to documents filed by County Attorney Annie Claesson-Huseby, Ms. Kinn never informed law enforcement about the contents of the letter until asked.
Kinn reportedly overdosed on an albuterol inhaler in October and was found unresponsive in his cell with a suicide note and the inhaler nearby. He was transported to the Sanford Hospital for treatment.
Kinn was interacting with hospital staff normally until he was informed that he would be transported back to the jail. Kinn reportedly stopped speaking, and stopped bathing, eating, or using the toilet facilities on his own, prompting the need to provide him with adult diapers.
Kinn’s defense attorneys claimed that Kinn’s displayed behaviors deemed him unfit to stand trial, and requested that Kinn undergo a competency evaluation. Kinn was removed from the county jail and placed into the custody of the Minnesota Security Hospital from November 3 to December 14.
Dr. Adnan Ahmed performed the evaluation at the Minnesota Security Hospital. During Kinn’s stay, he was also under the care of family practice physician Dr. Kimberly Wernsing.
Dr. Wernsing, after research of the behaviors Kinn was displaying, found no diagnosis consistent with the perceived symptoms, and found no documented case of long-lasting effects of albuterol overdose.
Dr. Ahmed performed a Test of Malingered Memory on Kinn, a test that helps discriminate between actual and fabricated memory impairments.
According to the court documents, those who suffer genuine memory impairment receive perfect scores on the TOMM. Those who attempt to exaggerate or fabricate memory impairment receive low scores. Dr. Ahmed said Kinn received a low score on the test, indicating that Kinn’s alleged memory impairment is either fabricated or exaggerated.
Dr. Wernsing also noted that after she had suggested to her staff that they place Kinn on a catheter and a feeding tube with Kinn present, he displayed remarkable improvement and began eating and toileting on his own within three days.
Dr. Wernsing and Dr. Ahmed, in their medical opinions, believed that Kinn was malingering, or an exaggeration of the truth, that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. Kinn was returned to the County Jail on December 20.
After consideration of the doctors’ testimonies, jail and hospital staff testimonies, and that of other witnesses called to the stand, Kinn was found by the court to be able to participate in his own defense and understand the legal proceedings before him.
Kinn’s case is scheduled to be heard before a jury on August 3, 2017. A pretrial is scheduled for July 21.