Anxiety disorder raised as man’s defense

Robert McCleland

Attorneys for a Grand Junction man accused of fatally shooting his neighbor told a judge Monday they’re seeking to present evidence of anxiety disorder as a defense against a first-degree murder charge.

Sheryl Uhlmann, one of two public defenders for 31-year-old Robert McCleland, filed a motion Monday asking District Judge Thomas Deister to advise her client of the consequences of pursuing a defense centering on a contention that McCleland was suffering from anxiety disorder around March 7, when prosecutors allege he shot and killed 27-year-old Andrew Boxa.

Ulhmann’s motion asked Deister to decide whether McCleland will be forced to undergo a mental-health evaluation by doctors at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, if the judge allows the defense.

“It’s our position it should not,” Uhlmann told Deister on Monday.

Deister gave prosecutors 15 days to respond and scheduled a motions hearing Oct. 4, when arguments on the issue will be heard.

McCleland was arrested March 7 after authorities allege he shot Boxa in the head after Boxa walked across the street to intervene in a domestic dispute between McCleland and his common-law wife in front of the couple’s home in the 2500 block of Texas Avenue, according to an arrest affidavit.

McCleland allegedly fired a warning shot into the ground in front of Boxa, then took aim at his head when Boxa refused to leave, the affidavit said.

McCleland is being held at Mesa County Jail on $1 million bond and is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree assault, menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.


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