DAKOTA CITY | A judge has granted a prosecution request that anti-psychotic drugs be administered to Andres Surber against his will, if necessary, in an attempt to restore his mental competency to stand trial for shooting and dismembering a man.
Evidence at a Feb. 16 hearing showed that Surber will not take medications without a court order, and administering the drugs involuntarily will give psychiatrists treating Surber a chance to definitively determine his mental competency, District Judge Paul Vaughan ruled.
"The doctor testified that if the defendant would take the medications that were necessary that he could be restored to competency within a reasonable amount of time," Vaughan said in his order, filed Friday in Dakota County District Court.
Surber, 27, of Wakefield, Nebraska, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He is accused of shooting Kraig Kubik, 42, of Emerson, Nebraska, with a 9mm firearm on Nov. 1, 2016, and dismembering his body.
Surber has been at the Lincoln Regional Center since April, when Vaughan, acting on a psychiatrist's finding that Surber was not fit to stand trial, ruled him mentally incompetent and sent him to Lincoln for treatment.
For much of the time since then, Surber takes his medications sporadically and has refused to take nearly every kind of anti-psychotic drug, Dr. Farid Karimi, a forensic psychiatrist at the Regional Center, testified at last month's hearing. Surber took his medications for a short time after Vaughan ordered him to comply with treatment in August, then resumed taking them sporadically or refusing them, Karimi said.
Surber continues to claim that he is God, didn't kill anyone and that Kubik is still alive, Karimi said at the February hearing, though staff members believe he is malingering to avoid punishment and faking symptoms of mental illnesses by imitating the behaviors of other patients at the Regional Center.
If Surber were to take medications continuously for up to two months, Karimi said he would be able to make a better determination of Surber's mental condition. Karimi has said he believes Surber has a form of bipolar disorder.
Surber's attorney, Todd Lancaster, of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy in Lincoln, said during last month's hearing he believed Surber meets several of the criteria for mental competence and that it might not be necessary to strap Surber to a table to give him injections.
Prosecutors believe Surber shot Kubik at Kubik's rural Emerson, Nebraska, home after they had a disagreement over the payment for a car Kubik bought from Surber. Kubik's right arm and right leg were found inside the trunk of a car at an abandoned farm 24 miles away on Nov. 2, 2016. The rest of Kubik's remains were found three days later in a culvert about four miles from the farmhouse.
Autopsy results showed that Kubik died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.
In December, Brayan Galvan-Hernandez, 20, of Wakefield, was sentenced to 50-60 years in prison after pleading no contest to attempted second-degree murder and guilty to accessory to a felony in connection with Kubik's death.