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Murder suspect to get mental health evaluation

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Law enforcement investigates a suspicious death at a home in the 600 block of Mill Street in Humansville on Saturday afternoon, March 20.

A case against a Polk County man accused of stabbing a Humansville woman to death last month is on hold as the suspect completes a mental health evaluation.

According to online court records, a motion for a mental health evaluation of Kaleb Tyrel Stamper, 34, of Humansville was filed by Polk County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Ashlock on Thursday, April 22, following a case hearing the previous day. 

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An oral motion for the evaluation was sustained without objection during the Wednesday, April 21, hearing.  

Stamper, who’s being held on $1 million cash or surety bond, was committed to the Department of Mental Health on Thursday, April 22, for the evaluation process and the case was suspended the same day, per court records.  

Ashlock previously told the BH-FP “it generally takes 60 days to hear back from the Department of Mental Health as to whether the defendant is competent to assist in his defense.”

He said the evaluation’s purpose is not to determine if mental health issues exist for defendants but if mental health concerns make it impossible for them to assist in their own defense.  

If the Department of Mental Health determines people cannot assist, Ashlock said they are placed in DMH custody for six months with reevaluations at the six-month and year mark. 

If a defendant cannot assist even after the reevaluations, a report is filed “with the court, and the court will dismiss the case upon a guardian being appointed,” Ashlock previously said.

“The state can refile if they later become competent,” he said.

Stamper is charged in Polk County Circuit Court with class A felony first-degree murder, felony armed criminal action and class B felony first-degree burglary. 

The probable cause statement said deputies were called to a home in the 600 block of West Mill Street in Humansville Saturday, March 20, for a report of an assault. 

According to the statement, a person called 911 around 2:09 p.m. saying Stamper attacked 57-year-old Tina May with a knife.   

Paramedics declared May dead when they arrived on scene, with Polk County Coroner Jeff Witt later confirming her death, the statement said. 

Just eight minutes after 911 was notified of the assault, a deputy had pulled over Stamper in his vehicle along Mo. 13, just south of the city. 

Stamper told deputies he murdered May “in cold blood,” the statement said.  

He told law enforcement he purchased a minivan and knife in Lebanon, then drove to Buffalo to kill a woman who was an acquaintance, per the statement. 

“He said she was not there ‘and it was her lucky day,’ so he went to Humansville to kill (the victim),” the statement said. 

After allegedly killing May, Stamper planned to drive to Springfield to kill another victim but was stopped by the Polk County deputy, per the statement.  

The statement said Stamper was on probation for a previous class D felony possession of controlled substance conviction in Polk County Circuit Court and had an active warrant, which carried a capias bond, for his arrest.

Stamper, who’s been held in Polk County Jail, signed a waiver of counsel and waiver of his preliminary hearing Monday, April 5. His next court hearing is Wednesday, June 23.  

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