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Getting criminal psychiatric evaluations is slow in Iowa

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Nearly two months after a suspect in a Dubuque killing was ordered to have a psychiatric evaluation he was transferred to the facility earlier this month.

The delay in Helmon Betwell’s case is fairly typical for Iowa defendants waiting for an evaluation at a state facility in Coralville, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports. The Iowa Medical and Classification Center has 18 beds to serve the entire state, and there is always a waiting list.

Fred Scaletta with the state Corrections Department says the current waiting list has 11 people on it, and that is shorter than normal.

In June, a judge decided Betwell wasn’t competent to stand trial for the sexual assault and death of 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl. He will be evaluated and treated at the Coralville facility.