Feb 052014
 

Michael Singreen (via opcso.org)

Michael Singreen (via opcso.org)

The murder trial of a man accused of killing his parents in an Audubon Boulevard home in 2009 has stalled as attorneys try to sort out whether the defendant’s sister — who is in a mental institution — is fit to testify as a witness.

Michael Singreen, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the beating deaths of his parents, Harry and Shirley Singreen, at their home in the 200 block of Audubon Boulevard on Jan. 25, 2009. Singreen has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and the district attorney’s office said it will not seek the death penalty.

The last trial date set in the case, Jan. 24, has come and gone with no new date set. Singreen appeared in court late last week with attorneys Dwight Doskey and Dennis Moore for a hearing about the possibility of testimony by his sister Elizabeth, who was allegedly in the room when their parents were killed.

“She is a possible witness,” said Assistant District Attorney Bobby Freeman.

“So, you both want her mental psychiatric records to determine if she is going to be an appropriate witness for either one of your cases,” said District Judge Laurie White.

Elizabeth Singreen, however, was sent to a mental hospital in central Louisiana following an unrelated criminal misdemeanor arrest in St. Tammany Parish, Doskey said.

“They sent her to get well to come back and face the misdemeanor?” White asked.

“She’s still there, and they haven’t done any further review of the case,” Doskey said.

Her psychiatric records are also under seal, Doskey said. Instead of trying to unseal her records, White suggested that it might be easier to bring her in for a hearing in person.

“If she can’t testify, the doctors will have to say it, not the lawyers,” White said.

In the end, White and both attorneys decided to order all of Elizabeth Singreen’s criminal and civil attorneys to appear in a hearing set for Feb. 14 to see what decisions can be made in court. Ultimately, if Elizabeth Singreen does testify, whether she is competent to be believed will be left to the jury, White said.

“This is just such a quandary,” White said.

Michael Singreen was an auto enthusiast who entered active service in the Navy in October of 2008, but was discharged in December, according to The Times-Picayune archives. He had a wife in the Air Force and two young children in Georgia, but he was staying with his parents following the discharge, the newspaper reported.

Dressed in orange prison garb, he attended Friday’s hearing, but did not speak during the proceedings, only conferring quietly with his lawyers. Attorneys on both sides of the case are now bound by a gag order that Michael Singreen requested.

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