Man accused of using golf club to fatally impale Minnesota store clerk ruled incompetent for trial

Jan 17, 2024, 8:12 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The man accused of using a golf club to fatally impale a Minneapolis grocery store employee has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge.

Judicial Officer Danielle Mercurio on Tuesday ruled on the mental competency evaluation of Taylor Justin Schulz, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Schulz, 44, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 66-year-old Robert Skafte on Dec. 8. Officers responded to Oak Grove Grocery and and found the victim behind the counter “with a golf club impaled through his torso,” police said at the time. Skafte died at a hospital.

Skafte was a clerk at the store for nearly two decades and also an acclaimed ballet dancer. Schulz lived in an apartment across the street. Court records show Schulz had been evicted a week before the killing and had previously assaulted other apartment residents.

Mercurio’s decision was based on the opinion of a psychological examiner. Schulz has a history of mental illness.

“We have no reason to dispute the examiner’s opinion,” Schulz’s public defender, Emmett Donnelly, said in a statement.

A message was left Wednesday with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Schulz remains jailed on $1 million bond. He faces a court hearing in July. His case could be referred for civil commitment proceedings.

Schulz has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and self-reported post-traumatic stress disorder, according to court records. He has received treatment and services through Veterans Affairs in the past.

Schulz was civilly committed for six months in 2021, when a doctor found he was at “unacceptably high risk of further psychiatric deterioration unless strong support is given,” the newspaper reported, citing court documents.

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Man accused of using golf club to fatally impale Minnesota store clerk ruled incompetent for trial