A preliminary hearing in New Mexico for 44-year-old Elizabeth Denman becomes a request for a competency hearing. Denman faces 21 counts in the abduction of her son from her ex-husband’s home in Lake Ozark.
McKinley District Attorney Karl Gillson expressed displeasure over the public defender making the request at the last minute because he had spent public funds to bring Paul Denman from Missouri, and numerous out-of-county law enforcement officers, to testify at the hearing.
Gillson said the request for a competency hearing automatically goes to the district court.
“That process in my experience is exhausting, I’d say anywhere from 60 to 120 days,” Gillson said.
Denman is the mother of Devon Denman, who was kidnapped at gunpoint from his father’s home on July 10, the day before his fifth birthday. She and her new husband, Mark Cochran, allegedly abandoned Devon in the car after New Mexico State police flattened the tires of their car during a 100-mile-an-hour chase and fled on foot in the dark. Shots were fired at officers during the pursuit, and Gillson says Denman and Cochran face attempted murder charges for that action. The couple was caught a couple of days later in Arizona.
They’ll eventually be returned to Missouri to face other charges here.
KYVA news talked to Paul Denman in New Mexico after the hearing was delayed. He said he realizes all 21 charges in New Mexico may not be prosecuted.
“I just hope they get what they’ve got coming to them. It’s a little nerve wracking driving out here. A lot of charges are going to be dropped, I know, but I just hope they get what they’ve got coming and I’m just happy I’ve got my son back,” Denman said.
The reporter also asked how Devon is doing.
“Doing great, I mean he had to start counseling because he did see a lot more stuff than people thought he did see. Going through counseling and otherwise for the most part his back to his normal happy, rowdy self,” Denman said.
Cochran faces a preliminary hearing in the same court next Wednesday.
John McBreen of KYVA contributed to this report.