Carl seeks new counsel in 2015 case
Justin Carl – a local man accused of fatally shooting a stranger in 2015 – is mentally competent to stand trial and his case can resume, a Waukesha County Circuit judge has ruled.
Judge Ralph Ramirez's decision on Feb. 23 comes after Carl, 36, submitted to three separate competency evaluations following the suspension of his trial in September. Carl stands accused of first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Waukesha resident Kevin Hueman.
During last week's hearing, Ramirez also granted Carl's request to seek private counsel, court records show. Public defender Maura McMahon is currently serving as Carl's attorney and will remain on the case until Carl can secure new representation.
Carl has previously expressed some frustrations with McMahon's decisions throughout the proceedings.
He has until March 3 to find a new attorney, Ramirez said. If he cannot secure private counsel, another public defender will be appointed to take his case.
Ramirez also addressed two letters he recently received, one of them purportedly authored by Carl in which he called Ramirez a "jerk and an a******," and claimed he had filed a federal harassment lawsuit against the judge. The second supposedly came from another inmate at the Waukesha County Jail – where Carl has been incarcerated for more than a year – and discussed Carl's case.
Carl denied writing the letters, online records show, although both appear to be authored by the same person – possibly the other inmate, who is facing criminal charges for threatening a police officer in an unrelated case.
The letters are the latest somewhat bizarre development in the case following Carl's unruly behavior during his ultimately aborted trial.
Carl's trial was called off in September after just three days of testimony following several disruptive outbursts from him that led McMahon to raise the competency issue.
Carl repeatedly addressed the court directly and on separate occasions shouted an objection to testimony and asked a witness a question, despite receiving numerous warnings about his actions.
According to a criminal complaint, Carl fatally shot Hueman, an apparent stranger to Carl, around 8:17 p.m. Aug. 14, 2015, shortly after Hueman walked outside his North Street home to smoke and watch a thunderstorm. Hueman was 40.
Carl reportedly told his aunt he was responsible for the killing one day after it happened, but later denied it.
He stands accused of two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon in addition to the homicide charge, and if convicted is facing a mandatory life sentence.
Another homicide case involving a Waukesha man, Philip Holland, is pending. Court records indicate Holland's case is scheduled to go to trial in June.