Kizzar's Mental Status In Question


Lenny Kizzar of Clay Springs --the man accused of shooting Payson Police Officer Allen Dyer Oct. 30 at Wal-Mart --is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference April 13 in Payson.

Before that happens, though, Kizzar will attend another hearing to determine his competency to stand trial. That hearing was scheduled for March 20, court officials said. However, a mix-up in Kizzar's transfer from the Madison Street jail in Phoenix to the court in Globe has delayed the hearing another week.

Kizzar was transferred to Maricopa County last month due to health reasons, said his attorney James Hazel.

"There's some medication he's on to treat a bipolar disorder, and he wasn't getting them in Globe," Hazel said. "He's back on them now and is doing much better."

According to police interviews with the suspect, Kizzar said he'd been wandering around Payson for the five days prior to the shooting, carrying a .44-Magnum handgun in the front of his pants.

He also possessed a death wish, he told detectives.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms think Kizzar obtained nearly 10 pounds of explosives from John Baker, the man accused of bombing the Mormon church in Heber last May. Kizzar also had been working as a witness for the prosecution in the church bombing and had been cooperative with ATF agents.

"He even showed us where he buried his explosives out in the national forest outside of Heber," said ATF Agent Larry Bettendorf. Despite Kizzar's apparent knowledge of the Heber incident, ATF investigators were not able to prove that Kizzar was connected to the bombing.

Kizzar told detectives that because he was a witness for the prosecution, he received a number of death threats. Feeling like a marked man, Kizzar told officers he wandered around town, looking for someone to shoot him.

Kizzar's alleged plan went awry in front of Wal-Mart the afternoon of Oct. 30, when Kizzar ran into Officer Dyer.

Dyer said his main concern was corralling shoppers away from the gunman, and in the process, was shot twice himself.

Dyer was able to get one shot off at the suspect, but missed. He tried additional shots, but his gun jammed. Kizzar fled the scene, but was caught a short time later in the back yard of a nearby residence, and was taken into custody.

Kizzar's previous run-ins with police included charges of forgery and burglary, and a nine-year sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

While attorneys for both sides await the outcome of the competency hearing, Hazel said he has not formulated his defense yet.

"We've only been able to interview 15 of the 84 witnesses the prosecution wants to call," Hazel said Monday. "Once the state gets (the remaining) interviews set up, then we'll be in a better position to form our defense. I really can't go forward until after those interviews."

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