Court waits on competency evaluation in Toquerville murder case

ST. GEORGEThe competency of a teen accused of killing a Toquerville woman could be determined in the coming weeks as the court waits to receive the second half of the suspect’s mental evaluation.

In 5th District Court Thursday, Judge John Walton said the court had only received one mental evaluation for 18-year-old Joshua David Canfield thus far. State law requires that evaluations be conducted by at least two mental health experts in order to determine whether or not a defendant is competent to continue moving through the court process.

Washington County Deputy Attorney Zachary Weiland and Edward Flint, Canfield’s attorney, each said a second mental health expert had evaluated Canfield, though they had yet to receive the results of that evaluation.

Walton scheduled a new hearing for Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.

“Let’s hope we have the second report at that time,” he said.

If ruled incompetent, Canfield could be sent to the Utah State Hospital for treatment and continued evaluation until his competency is considered restored.

A recent example of a defendant being ruled incompetent occurred on Oct. 28 and involved John Goss, 41, of Arizona. Goss, who is accused of committing arson at an area hotel, was found incompetent by the court and was sent to the state hospital.

Canfield was arrested on March 24 for the murder of 58-year-old Geraldine Bommerito, of Toquerville. Though the incident occurred when Canfield was 17, Utah law allows teens 16 and above to be charged as adults in homicide cases.

The charges stem from a residential burglary investigation in Toquerville conducted by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies on March 19, in which Canfield was listed as a suspect. Two firearms and some collectible coins were stolen in the burglary.

Canfield was later seen at a convenience store in Washington City, where he made a purchase with some coins that matched the description of those taken in the burglary. Witnesses provided police with the license plate number of the car Canfield was driving, and it was found to be registered to Bommerito. Deputies then responded to her home.

Deputies found Bommerito dead in her home in Toquerville on March 19 from what appeared to be a gunshot wound. As the investigation continued, deputies found Bommerito’s missing car in Springdale, and it had been destroyed by fire.

Deputies named Canfield as a “person of interest” and ultimately found and arrested him in Springdale. At the time of his arrest, it was reported that he had two firearms in his possession and was belligerent and combative with detectives when they initially made contact with him.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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