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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Brian Christopher Sullivan, charged with capital murder in the stabbing deaths of his wife and 4-year-old daughter, has refused to cooperate in a mental examination and therefore is presumed competent, a judge ruled.
Third District Judge Ann Boyden ruled Monday that Sullivan, 39, has "the presumption of competency" under the law, and she set Dec. 5 for a preliminary hearing.
Sullivan had been refusing to answer questions by mental-health evaluators, invoking his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.
On Monday, prosecutor Kevin Murphy asked the judge to enforce her order to inquire into Sullivan's competency, but defense attorney Lisa Remal argued that would violate Sullivan's constitutional rights.
Boyden agreed, saying, "I find I would be in violation of the defendant's rights to compel him to answer those questions."
Since she had not been given any evidence to show Sullivan was incompetent, the judge determined he is competent, as is presumed by the law.
Boyden said the issue of competency can be raised again at any time during the court proceedings.
Prosecutors had asked for the competency evaluation, citing statements Sullivan reportedly made about "religious sacrifices" and "operating under God's command" and how "some people might consider him crazy."
Sullivan is accused of killing LaRae Marara Sullivan and their daughter, Kehaulani Nui Sullivan, in their West Valley home on Feb. 13.
Police found the bodies covered with blankets in a bed. The bodies apparently had been cleaned.
Sullivan allegedly told police that God ordered him to kill his family as a test of faith similar to the Bible story of Abraham and Isaac.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)