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Judge grants psychiatric evaluation request for Daniel Clay in Chelsea Bruck murder case

Posted: 6:25 AM, Jul 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-28 20:07:49-04
A judge has ordered the man accused of murdering Chelsea Bruck to undergo a mental competency exam.  Daniel Clay’s attorney told the judge on Thursday that his client has been distraught inside the Monroe County Jail, and that he wants him to be evaluated before this murder case can go forward.
 
Clay kept his head down and his hands clasped as he waited to face a judge for the second time this week.  On Monday, Clay was charged with 2nd degree murder.   He’s accused of killing 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck after she vanished from a packed Halloween Party in Frenchtown Twp. nearly two years ago.
 
DNA evidence finally led police to the 27-year-old Newport man, who has a lengthy criminal history. 
Clay’s attorney told the judge that his client has been distraught since his arrest.
 
“At the jail, he was placed in the confinement cell for quite some period of time, and has been seen by psychiatric personnel, and has been prescribed a certain medication,” said defense attorney Russell Smith.
 
Clay allegedly confessed to the crime, telling his girlfriend that Bruck died during rough sex.  The medical examiner says Bruck died from blunt force trauma to her head.  The prosecutor says has no reason to think Clay is not competent to stand trial, but he did not object to Clay getting a psychiatric evaluation.
 
“To err on the side of caution, the request is granted,” said 1st District Court Chief Judge Jack Vitale.
 
The judge ordered that the mental exam to be finished within 60 days.   After that he wants this case to get moving, pointing out that it’s been 20 months since Chelsea Bruck was murdered.