DAKOTA CITY -- Even after Andres Surber identified himself as Lucifer and about a dozen other names in court Thursday, prosecutors were adamant that he's mentally competent to stand trial for the death and dismemberment of Kraig Kubik.
A state psychiatrist's report said that Surber is mentally incompetent, and Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Corey O'Brien said he'd be derelict in his duty to insist the case go to trial. Any guilty verdict, he said, would almost certainly be overturned on appeal, even though O'Brien said he believes Surber's outbursts of profanity and nonsensical comments are just for show.
"He is doing nothing but putting on an act," O'Brien said. "If his competency is restored in two days, two weeks, two months, two years or 22 years, the state is going to be there to prosecute him for the death of Mr. Kubik."
Following the finding of Dr. Klaus Hartmann, District Judge Paul Vaughan declared Surber incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to be taken to the Lincoln Regional Center for treatment. According to Vaughan, Hartmann said in his report that he believed Surber's competency could be restored in a short period of time. The report was sealed immediately after it was filed in Dakota County District Court.
Surber, 28, 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 with a 9mm firearm on Nov. 1, 2016, and dismembering the body.
Vaughan last month granted a defense request to have Surber evaluated to determine whether he understands the charges against him and whether he can assist in his defense.
On Thursday, defense attorney Todd Lancaster, of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy in Lincoln, argued only that Vaughan follow Hartmann's recommendation.
Surber has been diagnosed with schizophrenic effectiveness disorder with bipolar symptoms and continually talks out loud to himself during court hearings, occasionally interrupting the proceedings.
He disrupted Thursday's hearing immediately, challenging Vaughan and telling him he was paying his bond and leaving.
"Open my cuffs and get me the f--- out of here," Surber said.
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Prior to ruling, Vaughan gave Surber one more chance to speak.
"I'd say full competence because I am my own lawyer," Surber said. "I'm Lucifer, or you can call me Andres, but I go by that."
After issuing his ruling, Vaughan said that if Surber refused to take his medications while at the Regional Center, the state can file a motion to have them administered against Surber's will.
Vaughan previously ruled Surber incompetent to stand trial in April 2017. After months of treatment at the Regional Center, a psychiatrist found that Surber's competency had been restored, and Vaughan declared him competent to stand trial in October.
Prosecutors believe Surber shot Kubik at Kubik's rural Emerson, Nebraska, home. 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 near the farmhouse.
Autopsy results showed that Kubik, 42, died of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Brayan Galvan-Hernandez, 21, of Wakefield, pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree murder and guilty to accessory to a felony in connection with Kubik's death and was sentenced in December 2017 to 50-60 years in prison.
Surber's case is now on hold while he undergoes treatment, and no trial date is set.
As he left the courtroom, Surber continued to speak out loud to himself. While sheriff's officers waited with him at the elevator to return him to jail, he howled like a dog.