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Dave Olson, Published March 03 2010

Robbery suspect to undergo treatment

A man accused of robbing a bank in Gilby, N.D., is incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

During a hearing in U.S. District Court in Fargo, Judge Ralph Erickson ordered that Clifton Patterson be placed in a suitable facility for treatment of mental problems.

Patterson, of Grand Forks, and William Collins, of Nashville, Tenn., are charged in federal court with robbing the Bremer Bank in Gilby of more than $50,000.

Surveillance video showed two robbers – one carrying a shotgun and the other a handgun.

Investigators have said they recovered the handgun, which was determined to be a BB gun.

Ron Nieberding, a doctor who evaluated Patterson for mental competency, testified Tuesday via a video link that Patterson has a long history of mental problems and a lengthy criminal record.

He said Patterson’s mental issues include schizophrenia.

Nieberding said based on Patterson’s record, there have been times when Patterson may have exaggerated his mental problems if it was to his advantage.

Nieberding added, however, that Patterson would likely benefit from several months of individual and group treatment, as well as classes that would help him understand the court process.

After Nieberding’s testimony, Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Reisenauer told Erickson the government agreed with Nieberding’s conclusions that Patterson was unable to understand court proceedings and he was not competent to assist in his own defense.

Erickson ordered that Patterson receive treatment for up to four months, after which his prognosis is to be re-evaluated.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555