Competency exam ordered for elderly murder suspect

83-year-old defendant charged in 1976 double murder
Warren Bluhm
Oconto County Times Herald Editor

MARINETTE — Six weeks late, a Marinette County judge has ordered a competency examination for the octogenarian Lakewood man charged with a 1976 double murder.

At a hearing in January, Judge James Morrison approved the exam after attorneys for Raymand Vannieuwenhoven said they no longer believe he is capable of aiding his defense.

Morrison set a Feb. 10 deadline – coincidentally the defendant’s 83rd birthday – for receiving results of the exam and scheduled a hearing this week to review the situation.

The district attorney’s office never forwarded a proposed order for the exam to the judge, and on Feb. 11 Morrison held a hearing to find out what happened.

The DA owned up to the oversight, and Morrison rescheduled the review for March 19. This time, the proposed order was forwarded, and the judge approved it.

Vannieuwenhoven’s attorney sent a letter to Morrison in December asking for the competency examination.

“After meeting with Mr. Vannieuwenhoven and trying to discuss the upcoming hearings, the defense does not believe Mr. Vannieuwenhoven is competent to proceed,” the letter said.

He is charged with the murders of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys, whose bodies were found in McClintock Park in Silver Cliff in 1976. They had been shot to death.

The case remained unsolved until last March, when officials said a sample of Vannieuwenhoven’s DNA matched a sample preserved from Matheys’ body. He is being held in the Marinette County Jail in lieu of $1 million cash bond.