A murder charge has been dismissed against a Davenport woman accused of fatally shooting her husband in January 2017, after a judge found there was “no reasonable likelihood” she can be restored to competency.
The charge against Shiela J. Jasper, 53, in the death of Mark Jasper, 64, was dismissed without prejudice, meaning prosecutors can refile the charge at any time.
That is not likely to happen, Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Monday.
“Her condition is not the type of thing that’s going to change,” he said.
Court records show that Judge Stuart Werling ordered Jasper to be released to the custody of Vera French Community Medical Center or her guardian on May 7.
Werling said in a written order he made his decision after reviewing evaluation reports from two doctors.
Defendants can be found not competent to stand trial if they suffer from a mental disorder that prevents them from appreciating the charges, understanding the proceedings or assisting effectively in their defense.
Iowa law mandates the case be dismissed if a defendant cannot be restored to competency.
Prosecutors have the option to seek a civil commitment if a defendant is a danger to himself or herself or others.
Those proceedings are closed from the public. Walton said Monday he cannot comment on civil commitment proceedings.
Jasper’s attorney, Miguel Puentes, said Monday he was not authorized to comment on the case.
At 10:10 p.m. Jan. 7, 2017, Davenport police responded to the Jasper's home in the 2300 block of North Ripley Street and found Mark Jasper dead from a gunshot wound.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Shiela Jasper told police she shot her husband while he was asleep in a living room chair, using his revolver, which was sitting on a computer desk in the basement.
She covered his face with a towel and waited several hours before contacting a mortuary to collect his body, according to the affidavit.
The proceedings were suspended against Jasper in May 2017 after former Judge Paul Macek found probable cause she was not competent to stand trial.
Macek ordered her to be evaluated at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville and directed she receive treatment, if deemed necessary.
Walton said he believed this was the first time in this tenure as county attorney that a murder case was dismissed because the defendant could not be restored to competency.
“In this particular case, because of her medical condition, I would say it’s not as frustrating as it might have been in a case where I questioned the medical condition,” he said. “This was a case there was no real issue, there was no controversy about what her status was.”