What's next for Kosgar Lado?

Feb 25, 2014

The Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry near Ann Arbor
Credit courtesy of the Michigan Department of Community Health

Last week, an Ingham County judge ordered Kosgar Lado, a 21-year old Lansing resident, to be held in the state psychiatric hospital in Kalamazoo for up to 15 months or until he can be deemed competent to stand trial for a felony charge of lying to police.

Lado’s story, which has been chronicled by the Lansing State Journal’s Kevin Grasha, began last June, when he was wrongly identified as a murder suspect. After giving a false confession under police interrogation, the Sudanese refugee was charged with murder, but the charges were eventually dropped.  He was subsequently charged with a felony for providing false statements to police.

Though he was not diagnosed with schizophrenia at the time of his false confession, Lado has since received the diagnosis twice and been deemed incompetent to stand trial.

The case has drawn some public criticism of Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III. There’s an online petition asking that Dunnings drop the charges, and last week the Lansing State Journal wrote a scathing editorial with the headline: “Why persecute an innocent, mentally ill man?”

Current State spoke with James Shonkwiler, one of those calling for the charges against Mr. Lado to be dropped. Shonkwiler was the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan for 27 years and he’s been following the case. We also talked with Dr. Eric Neal, a psychiatrist at the state’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry. He says the center often is successful in restoring people to competency for trial within three to four months, mostly through medication.