SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WILX/Gray News) – A competency evaluation has been completed by health officials on Mark Latunski, who is accused of killing and mutilating a man around Christmas 2019.
After a 30-day exam at a state psychiatric hospital in Ypsilanti, hospital officials have deemed 50-year-old Latunski unfit to stand trial.
“It was the opinion of the forensic center in Ypsilanti that he’s incompetent at this time,” said Shiawassee County Public Defender Doug Corwin.
According to a release, the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, “has opined that Latunski is not presently competent to stand trial.”
A hearing will be held before the Honorable Ward L. Clarkson in regards to Latunski’s competency on Thursday.
Corwin said he’s confident that Clarkson will find him incompetent.
“There’s no professional that says he’s not,” Corwin said.
Corwin added that he doesn’t know if Latunski will be at the hearing, but he may appear via video conference.
Assuming the judge rules Latunksi incompetent, Corwin said it’s unclear when Latunksi could be transported to the psychiatric facility, which Corwin calls a “lockup facility.”
"Everything stops when we file a motion for a forensic evaluation," Corwin said. "Mr. Latunski had that evaluation done and now the forensic center is pulling in prior history, current history, and looking at everything to determine mental status."
Corwin requested the evaluation because of his own concerns about his client's mental state and he says it's not getting any better.
“There has not been a change at this time. In fact, I think he’s getting worse. His ability to distinguish what is real and what is not,” said Corwin, drifting off and not finishing his sentence.
He said that presents another challenge for Latunski's defense.
"I think he knows the charges, but because of what's going on with his thinking, he's not able to help us defend him. The other day I talked to him, I had three questions for him that took 45 minutes to kind of get an answer out of him," Corwin said.
Latunski is charged with killing and mutilating 25-year-old Kevin Bacon from Swartz Creek in late December.
Michelle Myers, Bacon’s roommate, said Bacon went to meet Latunski on Christmas Eve after they connected through the dating app Grindr.
Court documents revealed what police said they found on Dec. 28, the day they arrested Latunski in connection with Bacon’s death.
WARNING: The details of the testimony are graphic.
Detectives said they went to Latunski's home to perform a welfare check as that was the last location Bacon was believed to have been.
When they entered Latunski’s central Michigan home, detectives testified they found Bacon hanging naked from the ceiling.
According to testimony from the detectives, Latunski confessed to killing Bacon by stabbing him with a knife in the back one time then slitting his throat.
He also admitted to police he wrapped a rope around Bacon’s ankles and hung him from the rafters on the ceiling.
According to the documents, Latunski admitted he used the knife to cut off Bacon’s testicles and then consumed them.
The gruesome nature of the crime has led to hate mail for Corwin.
"I haven't had anybody really threaten my life, but just a lot of bad talk out there. Our department, this is our job, it's what we do. Everybody deserves a good confident legal defense," Corwin said.
Corwin is a pastor in Corunna when he's not in the public defender's office. He says he often relies on his faith to guide him through cases.
"I don't look at the ethics behind it or anything that he did. I'm there to work in his best interest at this point because I don't believe him to be competent," Corwin said.
There will be a competency hearing after the forensic report is completed.
If Latunski is found incompetent he'll be hospitalized in a lock-down facility and have periodic reviews on his mental state.
If he shows no improvement after 15 months, he'll be reassessed and the forensic center will decide on the best treatment going forward.
Latunski was found incompetent back in 2013 when he was charged with parental kidnapping. That case was ultimately dismissed.
His foreclosed home will go up for auction on Feb. 26. There will be no public viewing of the house before the auction.