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Published December 20 2012

Judge orders Deniger to remain in treatment

FARGO – A judge has extended the mental health treatment for a Fargo man accused of murdering his wife last March.

Henry Leo Deniger has been at the State Hospital in Jamestown since September, after Judge Steven McCullough ordered that he spend up to 90 days there until he’s fit to proceed with the case.

Wednesday marked the end of the 90-day period. After receiving information from the State Hospital, prosecutor Reid Brady and Den-iger’s public defenders, Gordon Dexheimer and Nicho-las Thornton, jointly asked the court to extend his treatment for up to 90 days.

The case will resume if Deniger regains fitness to proceed in the opinion of the hospital’s evaluator. If he doesn’t, a hearing will take place within 15 days of the end of the extended treatment period.

Deniger, 50, faces a potential life sentence if convicted of fatally stabbing his 52-year-old wife, Kathye Deniger, whose body was found in the couple’s south Fargo apartment March 6.

In August, his attorneys asked that he be committed for treatment until he regains competency “or reaches the end of his maximum possible sentence for the underlying offenses.” The motion followed two psychological evaluations of Deniger.

As The Forum has previously reported, Deniger’s criminal history includes several cases in which his mental competency came into play. In a 2001 carjacking case in Seattle, he was acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to a mental hospital. A harassment charge filed in 2008 in Seattle also was dismissed for reason of incompetency.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528